Searching Data Archived at FSD

Search tools | Search tips

First, think carefully what kind of data you are looking for. Answering the following questions may help you to narrow down your search:

  • What is your research question?
  • What kind of indicator or variable do you need? What kind of questions should have been asked of the respondents?
  • What time period are you interested in?
  • How quickly do you need the data?

If you need the data very quickly, you should check that the dataset you are interested in is not under embargo, and that our data catalogues show that it has a codebook in English (which means that the dataset has already been translated into English). If the dataset is not yet available in English, the FSD will translate it for you at no cost, but this may take a little while. In some cases, the original researcher has to be asked for permission for data re-use. The FSD staff is happy to help you with any questions.

Search Tools

Data Service Portal Aila is the most convenient way to browse, search and download data.

Nesstar: Using the Nesstar interface, you can restrict your search to specific fields, for example to the title, keyword, or variable label field. Nesstar requires an updated version of a web browser, and therefore a recent version of the Microsoft Internet Explorer is recommended. In the FSD_ENG catalogue, you will find study descriptions of all archived datasets in English, and variable level information for those datasets which have already been translated into English. To do a simple search, write the search word(s) to the search field at the top left. See also the instructions below in the 'Search tips' section on how to search for specific variables or study descriptions in Nesstar.

Previous FSD data catalogues: The data catalogues provide the possibility to browse datasets by title, topic, keyword, or series.

FSD's search interface: You can also search our data catalogues using the archive search interface based on Google search. It is not a sophisticated tool, but adequate for simple searching. When you are searching for data, it is best to select the option 'only data catalogue'. Truncation cannot be used, but phrase search is available.

Search Tips

Are you looking for data on a specific subject?

You can browse archived data by keyword, topic, and series. Datasets are indexed using the English version of the multilingual thesaurus ELSST, and both the CESSDA and FSD topic classification. There are separate web pages introducing data by theme (e.g. data on Russia, Finnish elections, Finnish young people).

Are you looking for specific variables?

There are three search interfaces in Aila: Data, Variable and Expert search. You can restrict the search to a particular field, for instance, to title or question text. Using 'Search all fields' allows you to search anywhere in the document. You can also choose to search data in a particular language.

In the Nesstar interface, you can search for variables. First choose Advanced search by clicking the >> button next to the binoculars button at the top left. In the now opening window, select 'Variable Description' as your Search criteria, and add your search word(s) to the search box on the right. In Return what? section select 'Search for variables', and in Search where? section 'FSD_ENG'. When the system displays your search results, click the small square in front of the dataset title, and the system will show the variables in the dataset containing your search element. If you click 'Open in context', all variables in the dataset will be displayed on the left, and frequencies of the specific variable on the right. If you wish to see the study description, click on the square in front of 'Metadata'. Return to search results by closing this window from x button at the top right. To do another search, click on the >> button again.

Please note that you cannot find variables for those datasets which have not yet been translated into English. However, you can search study descriptions to see if there are any datasets of interest to you. FSD translates datasets on request. More information about data translation services. To search study descriptions, select 'Study Description' as your Search criteria, and 'Search for datasets' in the Return what? section.

updated 2014-06-23