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Research Services

Fall 2009 tutorials

Creating Web-based Surveys with Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey offers a way to create surveys without complicated  programming or coding. Working within pre-defined templates, you can use several different types of questions, including text, multiple checkboxes, single-answer radio buttons, likert scales and free text responses. Once the survey is completed, data can be downloaded into a format that can be used with Excel, SPSS, or other analysis programs. The tutorial will cover:

  • Getting started with Survey Monkey
  • Creating and editing surveys
  • Publishing the survey on the web
  • Closing the survey and downloading data
  • Important survey design considerations

In addition to Survey Monkey, we will also briefly discuss other online Survey providers,  php/ESP, and custom design services.

November 3, 2009  12:00 - 1:30 pm   O’Neill 245

Getting Started with HLM 6

This tutorial will explore the basic concepts involved in applying hierarchical linear modeling using HLM 6. Particular focus will be placed on understanding how heteroskedastic errors may occur when using ordinary least squares for analysis, and how the method of mixed modeling may be able to account for this problem in the social sciences using HLM 6. We will cover the creation of a multivariate data matrix (mdm) file using the software, and proceed to generating results for a null model along with calculating the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient.
October 7, 2009  12:00 – 1:00 pm   O’Neill 245

Introduction to ArcGIS

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used today to analyze and represent data with geographical reference on maps. Such applications are widely used in academia, private industry and government agencies and the number of applications is increasing. ArcGIS Desktop software products from the Environmental Research Systems Institute (ESRI).
ArcGIS Desktop is an integrated suite of advanced GIS applications and interfaces, including ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcGlobe, ArcScene, ArcToolbox, and ModelBuilder. Using these applications and interfaces, you can perform any GIS task, from simple to advanced, including mapping; geographic analysis; data editing, compilation, and management; visualization; and geoprocessing. ArcGIS Desktop is scalable to meet the needs of many types of users.

This session will introduce users to:

  • GIS software, data and technical support at Boston College
  • License options
  • Main ArcGIS features and capabilities (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcTool, ArcGlobe)
  •  Present available extensions and capabilities (Spatial Analyst, Geostatistical Analyst, etc)
  • Demos using Census data; Demos using Environmental data.

Options to get data and training will be also discussed. No prior knowledge of ArcGIS is required.

September 29  2009   10:00 am – 11:30 am   O’Neill 245

Introduction to Lisrel: Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Path Models

This tutorial will explore the basic steps in understanding the terminology for confirmatory factor analysis and path models for use in the social sciences. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) emphasized the use of theory in hypothesis testing, and can be used in conjunction with path models for causal modeling. Structuring Equation Modeling in the social sciences combines factor analysis and path models to account for measurement error in estimating parameters. The goal of this session is to introduce some of these concepts when using Lisrel.

October 28, 2009  12:00 – 1:00 pm  O’Neill 245

Introduction to Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research using Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Tools

This workshop provides an introductory discussion and demonstration of how to prepare a qualitative or mixed methods analysis project for use with computer assisted qualitative analysis tools such as Nvivo, HyperResearch, or Atlas.ti. These tools can be used to eliminate the problems of managing large amounts of qualitative data, can be used to code and re-code qualitative data, keep an audit trail of the analysis process, and supports both individual researchers and research teams in discussing coding and analysis issues. This workshop will be given in a demonstration (non-hands on) format. Nvivo will be used for demonstration purposes. Follow up consultations are available with individual research teams. We will include a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the various tools.

November 17 , 2009  12:00  to 1:30 pm  O’Neill 245

Introduction to SAS

Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) is a powerful software which is widely used in statistical analysis.
This hands-on tutorial is an introduction for beginning users. No prior experience with SAS software is needed. The following topics will be covered:

  • Getting started with SAS
  • Temporary versus Permanent SAS data sets
  • Using SAS procedures
  • SAS data sets versus raw data, SPSS, and PC database files.
  • SAS Analyst

September 23, 2009 12:00 -1:15 pm  O’Neil 245

Introduction to SAS: Part 2

This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginning users who already know the basics of SAS. The following topics will be covered:

  • Modifying a data set using the SET statement
  • IF-THEN/ELSE statements
  • Stacking data sets by using the SET statement
  • Combining data sets using a one-to-one match merge
  • Combining data sets using a one-to many match merge
  • Using basic statistical procedures: PROC UNIVARIATE, PROC MEANS, PROC FREQ, PROC REG;

September 30, 2009  12:00-1:15 pm  O’Neil 245

Introduction to SPSS

SPSS is a powerful and yet easy to use integrated collection of quantitative analysis software that is particularly popular with social science researchers. This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginning users who are just getting started using SPSS. No prior knowledge of SPSS is required. The following topics will  be covered:

  • Overview of SPSS, including how SPSS compares to the other most popular statistical packages and special features of SPSS.
  • Getting started with SPSS
  • Working with data in SPSS
  • SPSS graphs

 September 29, 2009  12:00 -1:30 pm  O’Neill 245 

Locating and Using Data for Secondary Research at Boston College

Boston College offers many sources and repositories of data for secondary research in the social sciences, education, nursing, economics, business and other disciplines.  This workshop is particularly geared to researchers who need to access, analyze and manipulate data from BC's subscription data repositories.  This tutorial will help  you: find the data you need for your research or class project; learn about the Boston College collection of data  resources in the Statistical Data Catalog; and how to download the data onto your desktop, including how to import  into quantitative analytical tools such as SPSS.  Get a tour of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, a data archive that includes over 5,000 datasets. We will also discuss the library’s guides to key Business, Economics, Education, Health, and General U.S. and cross-national data sources. Topics may be customized based on attendees’ research interests. Please contact for more information.

October 8, 2009  12:00 - 1:30 pm   O’Neill 307

MATLAB 1: Introduction to Matlab programming

MATLAB fundamentals provide a working introduction to the MATLAB technical computing environment. Matlab can be used with all aspects Mathematical computation, analysis, visualization, and algorithm development. This course is intended for beginning
and intermediate users. No prior knowledge of MATLAB is required. Familiarity with a programming language (Fortran, C for example) would be helpful. Themes of vector and matrix data analysis, graphical visualization, data modeling, and MATLAB programming are explored in the context of realistic examples.

This Matlab hands-on practice workshop will present:

  • Matlab documentation and help
  • Starting and quitting Matlab
  • How to use Matlab on Linux cluster “scorpio”
  • How to use Matlab on the Citrix applications’ server
  • Interaction and Script Files
  • Automatic Storage Allocation
  • Functions with Variable Arguments Lists
  • Mathematical Functions
  • Relational and Logical Operators
  • Flow Control
  • Importing and exporting text and Excel data

October 6,  2009  10:00 am – 11:30 am  O’Neill 245

MATLAB 2: Graphs and Visualization

The type of graph needed in a specific project depends on the nature of available data and on what is intended to reveal about the data. MATLAB predefines many graph types,  such as line, bar, histogram, and pie graphs. There are also 3-D graphs, such as surfaces, slice planes, and streamlines. 

This Matlab hands-on practice workshop will focus on m-files to produce graphics, and data visualization. We will show:

  • Two-Dimensional Graphics
  • Basic Plots
  • Axes and Annotation
  • Multiple Plots in a Figure
  • Three-Dimensional Graphics
  • Specialized Graphs for Displaying Data
  • Saving and Printing Figures

Examples presented (m files) can be easily modified and applied to your specific  experimental or model data.

October 13,  2009   10:00 am – 11:30 am  O’Neill 245

MATLAB 3: Statistics

This MATLAB hands-on practice workshop, with focus on statistical toolbox, will illustrate some of the methods used in univariate, and bivariate statistics. The objective is to learn to work with data in the MATLAB environment, perform statistical analysis, and visualize data in a variety of ways. It is assumed that participants already have some knowledge of MATLAB (at the level of previous two workshops) and background in Applied Statistics.

  • Descriptive statistics: Measures of center, spread, and shape
  • Statistical plotting: Histograms, scatter plots, and box plots
  • Random variables, Sampling distributions, Bootstrapping
  • Explore regression analysis for bivariate data
  • Correlation and covariance
  • Linear least squares

October 20,  2009   10:00 am – 11:30 am   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 4: Numerical Methods, Part I

This MATLAB workshop will start a two-meeting session on Numerical Methods.
In this first meeting we will deal with functions that allow for the solution of problems involving polynomials, nonlinear equations, and optimization. It is assumed that participants already have some knowledge of MATLAB (having a grasp on how to deal with MATLAB functions would be beneficial), background in statistics (Data fitting) and optimization theory.

The topics that will be covered are:

  • Polynomials (Evaluation, Root finding and Data fitting)
  • Nonlinear equations
  • Optimization.

October 27,  2009   10:00 am – 11:30 am   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 5: Numerical Methods, Part II

This MATLAB workshop will conclude a two-meeting session on Numerical Methods. In this second meeting we will deal with integrals evaluation and with the solution of ordinary differential equations. Given the more advanced nature of these topics, more time will be spent on examples and exercises to help the understanding of the material.

It is assumed that participants already have some knowledge of MATLAB and background in integral calculus and dynamic systems.

The topics that will be covered are:

  • Quadrature
  • Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE)
  • Stiff ODE.

November 3,  2009   10:00 am – 11:30 am,  O’Neill 245

MATLAB 6: Multivariate statistics

Principal component analysis (PCA) and Factor analysis (FA) aim at reducing the dimensionality of a complex set of data. These two techniques are closely related but have some important differences. PCA is a mathematical approach whose objective is to maximize variance. Principal component analysis is used to summarize data in fewer dimensions, for example, to visualize it. FA is a statistical method that analyses the correlation structure of the data and it is often used to build explanatory models of data correlations.

This workshop will provide an introduction to PCA and FA, illustrating some theory, and examples. It is assumed that participants have already some knowledge of MATLAB and Applied Statistics.

November 10,  2009   10:00 am – 11:30 am  O’Neill 245 

Matlab 7: Mapping with Matlab

The Mapping Toolbox  comprises an extensive set of functions and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for creating map displays and analyzing and manipulating geospatial data in the MATLAB environment.  Most Mapping Toolbox functions are written in the open MATLAB language. This means that you can inspect the algorithms, and adapt them to create your own custom functions. The toolbox also includes sample data sets, examples, and demos that illustrate key concepts, which provide starting points for geospatial data analysis projects of your own.

This seminar will illustrate topics related to: 

  • Geospatial data import and access
  • Vector map data and geographic data structures
  • Georeferenced images and data grids
  • Map projections and coordinates

It is assumed that participants already have some knowledge of MATLAB at the level of the first two workshops.
November  17,  2009   10:00 am – 11:30 am  O’Neill 245

Matlab 8:  Teaching with MATLAB

This hands-on tutorial is for faculty and teaching assistants who want to use MATLAB for course work. This tutorial is designed for people who know the basics of  MATLAB and will focus on using MATLAB through, which permits one to run MATLAB through a web interface. permits one to use MATLAB at one's own desktop or laptop without going to a computer lab or installing it.

October 6, 2009   11:30 am – 12:30 am  O’Neill 245

Stata 1: Introduction

Stata is a powerful and yet easy to use statistical package. This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginning users who are just getting started using Stata. The following topics will be covered:

  • Getting started with Stata
  • Creating and using "log" files
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Creating variables
  • Labeling variables and values

September 16, 2009 12:00 – 1:00 pm  O’Neill 245

Stata 2 : Do-files, Graphs, Simple Regression

This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginning users who knows basics of Stata. The following topics will be covered:

  • Creating and using "do" files
  • Working with graphs
  • Simple regression models
  • Significance tests for coefficients

October 14, 2009  12:00 – 1:00 pm  O’Neill 245

Stata 3: Logistic Regression

This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginning users who knows the basics of Stata. The following topics will be covered:

  • Probit regression analysis
  • Logistic regression analysis
  • Odds ratio
  • Discrete and marginal effects

November 11, 2009 12:00 - 1:00 pm  O’Neill 245