Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Research Services

Fall 2010 Tutorials

To register, please send email to with the names of the tutorials that you are interested in attending. 

Creating Web-based Surveys with Qualtrics

Qualtrics offers a way to create complex surveys without complicated programming or coding.  It offers survey design functionality that is more extensive than that offered by Survey Monkey.  Qualtrics offers an extensive library of surveys and a number of options for encryption. Qualtrics also offers sophisticated foreign language functionality.
Working within pre-defined templates, you can use several different types of questions, including text, multiple checkboxes, sliders, single-answer radio buttons, Likert scales.  Qualtrics also offers extensive branching functionality.

Once the survey is completed, data can be downloaded into a format that can be used with Excel, SPSS, or other analysis programs.

This tutorial will also include a section on research protections and informed consent with respect to online survey development, distribution, and analysis.
BC’s School of Arts & Sciences, CSON, CSOM, and LSOE have purchased annual Qualtrics licenses that are available for use by faculty, staff, and students in those schools.  People not in these schools are also welcome to attend this tutorial.

November 5, 2010 12:00 – 1:30 pm O'Neill 245

Cross-Cultural Comparisons using Confirmatory Factor Analysis on Lisrel

This tutorial examines the topic of testing for measurement invariance using Lisrel 8.80. The session is designed for users with some experience with factor analysis and within group analysis on CFA models. The comparability of a scale for two distinct populations will be discussed, and factor patterns and loadings will be examined to assess measurement equivalence. A proposed model will be applied in CFA, and each step in testing the measurement invariance hypotheses will be followed for the two distinct groups. The goal of this tutorial is to introduce the methodology behind cross-cultural measurement testing and the use of Lisrel in the analysis.

October 20, 2010   12:00 - 1.30 pm O’Neill 245

Examining a Scale for Confirmatory Factor Analysis

This tutorial will explore the basic steps in constructing a model for confirmatory factor analysis with Lisrel 8.80. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) emphasizes the use of theory in measurement hypothesis testing, which is informed by the researcher’s applied theoretical framework and empirical evidence from reliability analysis and exploratory factor analysis (EFA). This session will discuss the interpretation of reliability and EFA results on SPSS, and then examine CFA results from Lisrel. The goal of this tutorial is to introduce some of the methodology behind CFA analysis and provide some resources for beginning users to expand their knowledge on the topic.

October  13, 2010 12:00 - 1:30 pm  O’Neill 245

Getting Started with SPSS 18

SPSS 18 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 SPSS.
The following topics will be covered:

  • Getting started with SPSS
  • Creating and importing data files
  • Descriptive statistics and graphs
  • Creating variables
  • Labeling variables and values
  • Compatibility with previous versions of SPSS
  • Cross platform compatibility

October 15, 2010   12:00 – 1:30 pm O'Neill 245

Introduction to ArcGIS

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used for visualizing, managing, creating, and analyzing geographic data. Such applications are widely used in academia, private industry and government agencies. ArcGIS Desktop software 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 various GIS tasks, from simple to advanced, including:  mapping,  geographic analysis,  geostatistics, data editing, compilation, management and visualization. Using ArcGIS, you can understand the geographic context of your data, allowing you to see relationships and identify patterns in new ways. ArcGIS Desktop is scalable to meet the needs of many types of users.

This session will introduce users to: 1) ArcGIS software, data and technical support at Boston College; 2) License options; 3) Main ArcGIS features and capabilities (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcTool, ArcGlobe); 4) Demos using Census data and Environmental data. Options to get data and training will be also discussed. No prior knowledge of ArcGIS is required.

Note: Sign up for only one session.  The content is identical.
Session 1: September 20, 2010 10:00 – 11:30 am
Session 2: September 20, 2010     3:00 – 4:30 pm   O’Neill 245

Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an internet-based computing environment; on-demand requests, shared resources,. This tutorial will briefly introduce cloud computing and show how the Amazon cloud computing platform, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), works. The purpose of the tutorial is to introduce the basic concepts of cloud computing, to explore its usability for academia and to help create applications of cloud computing for the teaching and research community at BC.

This workshop will cover:

  • Concepts of cloud computing
  • Amazon clouding computing web services
  • Geting started with Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
    • Features
    • Payment options and cost
    • Hardware and operating system
    • Workflow
    • General process steps
    • Storage systems

October 6, 2010  12:00–1:30pm O’Neil 245

Introduction to the Linux Cluster

The Linux cluster is becoming increasingly popular in terms of computational resources for academic research. We have just expanded our existing Linux cluster by adding 44 more nodes; at this moment we have 112 nodes (33 quad-core nodes and 79 dual-core nodes) available for public use. Each quad-core node has 2 quad-core AMD Opteron processors (2.0 GHz) with 16 GB of memory. Some dual-core nodes have dual-core Intel Xeon processors (2.26 GHz) with 48 GB or 24 GB memory; others consist of AMD 1.8GHz, 2,2GHz or 2.6GHz processors with 4GB, 8GB or 32GB memory.

This tutorial is intended to be an introduction to the Linux cluster at Boston College. An overview, the primary components ,and examples of how to use BC’s Linux cluster will be presented.

This hands-on tutorial will cover:

  • An overview of the Linux cluster system at Boston College
  • Elements of Scorpio cluster system
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • The queuing system (PBS)
    • File and data backup system
    • Compilers and computational libraries
  • How to use Linux cluster
    • How to get an account
    • Remote access of the cluster system
    • Common Unix/Linux commands
    • Compile, debug and run programs
    • Submit batch and interactive parallel jobs

October 18, 2010 12:00–1:30 pm O’Neil 245

Introduction to Qualitative Analysis Using Nvivo9, Atlas.ti, or HyperResearch

This tutorial will provide a general discussion of qualitative research and short demonstrations of Nvivo 9, Atlas.ti, and HyperResearch.

Each of these software products has strengths and weaknesses when used for coding and analyzing quantitative data. However they can all be used, with planning and rigorous quantitative research methodologies, to eliminate the problems of managing large amounts of qualitative data.  They can all be used to code and re-code qualitative data, keep an audit trail of the analysis process, and to support both individual researchers and research teams in thinking about coding and analysis issues.

November 12, 2010 12:00 – 2:00 pm  O'Neill 245

Introduction to SAS: Part 1

Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) is 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
  • Getting information about the SAS data set: PROC CONTENTS
  • Modifying a data set using the SET statement
  • IF-THEN/ELSE statements
  • Subsetting data in SAS: subsetting variables & subsetting observations
  • Stacking data sets by using the SET statement
  • Combining data sets using a one-to-one or one-to-many match merge

September 23, 2010  12:00-1:30 pm  O’Neil 245

Introduction to SAS: Part II

This is the second part of the hands-on SAS tutorial for beginning users who already know some basics of SAS. The following topics will be covered:

  • Simplifying programs with Arrays
  • Using shortcuts for lists of variable names
  • Using basic statistical procedures: PROC UNIVARIATE, PROC MEANS, PROC FREQ, PROC REG
  • Introduction to SQL in SAS

September 28, 2010 12:00-1:30 pm O’Neil 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 19, 2010 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 of 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 workshop will present:

  • Matlab documentation and help
  • Starting and quitting Matlab
  • How to use Matlab on Linux cluster “scorpio”
  • 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

Note: Sign up for only one session.  The content is identical.
Session 1: September 27, 2010 10:00 – 11:30 am
Session 2: September 27, 2010   3:00 – 4:30 pm   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 2: Graphs and Visualization

The MATLAB environment offers a variety of data plotting functions plus a set of GUI tools to create, and modify graphic displays. The GUI tools afford most of the control over graphic properties and options. 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 2-D graph types,  such as line, bar, histogram, contour, and pie graphs. There are also 3-D graphs, such as surfaces, slice planes, and streamlines.  After determining what type of graph best represents your data, you can further enhance the visual display of information using the available tools. 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.

Note: Sign up for only one session.  The content is identical.
Session 1: October 4, 2010 10:00 – 11:30 am
Session 2: October 4, 2010   3:00 – 4:30 pm   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 some 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

Note: Sign up for only one session.  The content is identical.
Session 1: October 18, 2010 10:00 – 11:30 am
Session 2: October 18, 2010   3:00 – 4:30 pm   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 4: Multivariate statistics

High-dimensional data present many challenges for statistical visualization, analysis, and modeling. Data visualization is impossible or difficult beyond a few dimensions. Thus, pattern recognition, data preprocessing, and model selection must rely heavily on numerical methods. Often, many of the dimensions in a data set may be irrelevant or redundant. Because of these challenges, multivariate statistical methods often begin with some type of dimension reduction, in which data are approximated by points in a lower-dimensional space.

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 and 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 practical examples. It is assumed that participants have already some knowledge of MATLAB and Applied Statistics.

Note: Sign up for only one session.  The content is identical.
Session 1: October 25, 2010 10:00 – 11:30 am
Session 2: October 25, 2010 3:00 – 4:30 pm   O’Neill 245

Stata 1: Learning the Package

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
  • And some other introductory commands…

September 29, 2010 12:00 - 1:30 pm - O’Neill 245

Stata 2: Linear Regression

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

  • Simple regression models
  • Significance tests for coefficients
  • Using indicator variables in a linear regression model
  • Using and interpreting interactions between regressors
  • Creating and using "do" files

November 3, 2010 12:00 - 1:30 pm - O’Neill 245

Stata 3: Panel Models

This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginners who have a basic understanding of the Stata environment and some statistical experience with conducting regression analysis. This tutorial will introduce some of the techniques developed for use with
longitudinal data and repeated measurements. The following topics will be covered:

  • Polling Regression
  • Omitted Variable Bias
  • First-Difference Model
  • Fixed Effects
  • Random Effects

Nov 10, 2010  12:00 - 1:15 Room O’Neil 245