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Empirical Research at the Rogers College of Law


This guide provides important information for Arizona Law faculty engaged in empirical research. It includes University of Arizona and federal policies and procedures, information about specific data-gathering software, and links to selected datasets and statistics available on the internet.


University and federal policies and regulations may apply if you perform empirical research at the University of Arizona. Research directly involving human subjects will most likely require compliance with some portion of 45 CFR 46. The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) at HHS has a complete set of regulations implicated in any research involving human subjects. See section 46.101(b)to determine if your research requires review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or if it qualifies as an exception.

The UA has four such IRBs (IRB1, IRB2, IRB3 and IRB4). IRB2 relates to social and behavioral sciences, a broad subject area which may well describe much research in the "law and ..." categories.

Helpful topics and relevant UA web sites include:

Ethics & Compliance

  • Office for the Responsible Conduct of Research (ORCR)—This is the first stop for all university researchers,   providing information on such issues as subject privacy, conflict of interest, study controls and research integrity.
  • The Research Gateway tab on the above page covers all aspects of research beginning with initializing a project,   administration, compliance, the use of human subjects, and more.


Statistical Tools



  •  Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS)—TESS provides a platform for investigators to submit proposals for general-population experiments in the social sciences. Funded by the NSF, data is collected, stored and shared free of charge to the user.
  •  Mechanical Turk (MTURK)—Calling itself "a mechanical place for work", MTURK offers potential workers the opportunity to participate in human subject experiments online. The goal is to provide businesses with an on-demand workforce 24/7. Some of the tests require pre-qualifications.
  •  U.S. Senate-Statistics and Lists—Resume of Congressional Activity.
  •  GovTrack—Open-source project of Civic Impulse, an organization whose mission is increasing civic participation and transparency in government. The congressional portion draws raw data from congressional sources (e.g., votes missed per legislator, legislator with the greatest number of bills enacted).
  •  Council on State Governments (CSG)—The CSG is a member-based organization consisting of elected and appointed officials from all US states and territories. The section on research contains numerous reports in various policy areas.
  •  National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)—Conducts policy research in various subject areas and tracks what state legislatures are doing (e.g., 2011 State Immigration-Related Bills)
  •  Open:States—Collects and makes freely available legislative data from forty-two states, DC and Puerto Rico.
  •  California Ballot MeasuresFrom UC Hastings, a searchable collection of all California ballot measures with statistical analysis from 1911.
  •  Census Bureau—All kinds of socio-economic data available. The Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies hosts research projects and is available for submission of research proposals. The census web site also contains the current and historical Statistical Abstracts back to 1878, plus historical statistics back to 1789.
  •  Boston Census Research Data Center (BRCD)—Partnership between the Census Bureau and the private National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Contains population and housing data (Current Population Survey and American Housing Survey).
  •—The official government web site for data collected from all federal agencies.
  •  The Comparative Constitutions Project—Offers tools for analyzing the constitutions of 'most independent states' over the course of their constitutional development. There is a companion web site containing the text of current constitutions that is searchable by country or topic (
  •  International Social Science Programme (ISSP) - Collaborative effort begun in the mid-1980s between social science research centers in Germany and the US, the ISSP now includes over fifty nations, working together to craft a standard set of meaningful questions on topics of shared interest.
  •  NORC General Social Survey (GSS)- this biennial survey created by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago collects opinions on all aspects of American life including views on social, religion, politics, race, gender, crime and law enforcement, and much more through in-person, in-depth interviews of ninety minutes. The data from NORC's GSS goes back to 1972 and can be accessed through the GSS DATA Explorer web site.
  •  Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) - while their main focus is on collectiong data on religious affiliation and church membership, the ARDA has an archive of general population surveys that include information on religion, such as the GSS. 
  •  Pew Research Center—Contains datasets for a variety of topic-specific surveys including, the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the Iraq war, global Christianity and others.
  •  Rand—Contains statistics on a wide variety of topics, including many databases that are state-specific.
  •  Gallup—Contains data on political, economic and health/social well-being, both domestic and global. There is a page of global data, searchable by country, which is free but there is a charge for higher-level data from the World Poll datasets and it is prohibitively expensive.