Potential users of the Monotoring the Future Remote Access service should be aware of the two standard, preferred ways of accessing
MTF data. Both are excellent and are provided by the Inter-university Consortium
for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and its associated
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA).
First, available in the ICPSR/SAMHDA archive are fully-processed datasets representing all Monitoring the Future
surveys of 12th grade students from 1976 through 2008 as well
as 1991 through 2008 surveys of 8th and 10th graders. Given the multiple forms associated with each year's data collection, there
are now more than 300 MTF datasets archived by ICPSR/SAMHDA. These publicly-available datasets may be directly downloaded and analyzed
by the user. For reasons of confidentiality protection, there are very slight differences between these datasets and actual MTF datasets.
Specifically, the weight variables have been slightly modified and a very few variables have been bracketed or omitted.
Second, SAMHDA has made available online analysis versions of
a large portion of Monitoring the Future public access data using
the Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA) system developed by the University of California at Berkeley's Computer-assisted Survey
Methods Program (CSM). Many online codebooks for MTF datasets are immediately available. Further, this system allows a web user to directly
analyze archived MTF datasets. Currently, the grade 12 core datasets
from 1976 to present are ready to analyse using the SDA system. The types of analyses allowed are restricted, but this is a very useful
and easy-to-use system.