- To obtain specific information about the attributes, attitudes or behavior of contemporary or historic populations
- To undertake comparisons over time and between countries, regions and communities
- To test or re-test theories and hypotheses
- To pilot questions and techniques
- To undertake methodological research on appropriately structured data
- To obtain case material for teaching purposes
The wide scope of the data collection encourages secondary analysis of data for purposes quite different from those for which the data were originally collected. Users may find it helpful to acquire a copy of the documentation before requesting the actual data in order to determine the relevance of a particular dataset or subset to their own research or teaching. The ISDC strongly discourages the use of data without the appropriate user guide (Metadata).