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Tutorials: Fall 2011

Research Services offers tutorials and workshops on a variety of topics.  Each semester, we present a series of tutorials.  If you have suggestions, please contact us (  We will also give customized tutorials, and we are  available for advanced topics and consulting. 

The tutorials are available to all members of the BC community.  There is no cost for the tutorials.

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

The Fall 2011 Tutorials are:

Creating Web-based Surveys with Qualtrics  - Getting Started

Qualtrics offers a way to create complex surveys without complicated programming.  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. 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. Those community members not in A&S, CSON, CSOM, or LSOE may register for a limited free Qualtrics account at They may also obtain free access to Qualtrics online tutorials and help articles. It is recommended that you contact your school (A&S, CSON, CSOM, or LSOE) or to obtain a Qualtrics account prior to the tutorial.

October 5, 2001 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.

September 28, 2011 12:30 – 2:00 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, used to perform various GIS tasks, from simple to advanced, including:  mapping, geographic analysis, geostatistics, data editing, compilation, management and visualization. ArcGIS Desktop is scalable to meet the needs of many types of users.

This session will introduce users to:

  • ArcGIS software, data and technical support at Boston College
  • License options
  • Main ArcGIS features and capabilities (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcTool, ArcGlobe)
  • Demos using Census data and Environmental data. 

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

November 4, 2011     10:00 – 11:30 am    O’Neill 245

Introduction to the Linux Cluster

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:

  • Overview of the Linux cluster system at Boston College
  • The hardware architecture  
  • Compilers and computational libraries 
  • Common Unix/Linux commands 
  • How to compile, debug and run programs
  • How to apply for an account 

Nov 8, 2011 12:30 - 2:00 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 a demonstration of recently released Nvivo 9. We will also discuss and compare Atlas.ti 6.2, and HyperResearch 3.2. Each of these software products has strengths and weaknesses when used for coding and analyzing qualitative data. However they can all be used, with planning and rigorous qualitative 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.

October 12, 2011 12:00 -1:30 pm O’Neill 245

Introduction to SPSS 

SPSS is a powerful statistics program designed for use in both PC and Mac environments. This software is arguably the most used program in the social sciences, across multiple disciplines. SPSS can be used with menu-driven input as well as coding through syntax files. This introductory tutorial will explore some basics in using SPSS, such as examining data files, syntax files, and output files, along with updates to the software in version 19. 

September 21, 2001 12:30 -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 
  • How to download the data onto your desktop, including how to import into quantitative analytical tools such as SPSS.  
  • 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 18, 2011 12:00 - 1:30 pm O’Neill 307

MATLAB 1:  Fundamentals

MATLAB fundamentals and the following seminars 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 workshop is intended for beginning and intermediate users. No prior knowledge of MATLAB is required. Themes of vector and matrix data analysis, graphical visualization, data modeling, and MATLAB programming are explored by example. 

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 
  • Distinctive Features of MATLAB Automatic Storage Allocation
  • Functions with Variable Arguments 
  • Lists Complex Arrays and Arithmetic
  • IEEE Arithmetic
  • Mathematical Functions

Session 1: September 20, 2011   9:00 – 10:30 am   O’Neill 245
Session 2: September 20, 2011   1:00 – 2:30 pm     O’Neill 245
(Sign up for only one session.  The content is the same)

MATLAB 2:  Matrices

Matrices are fundamental to MATLAB, and even if you are not intending to useMATLAB for linear algebra computations you need to become familiar with matrixgeneration and manipulation. In the MATLAB environment, a matrix is a rectangular array of numbers. Scalar and vectors are particular cases of matrices and in the beginning, it is usually best to think of everything as a matrix. The operations in MATLAB are designed to be as natural as possible and MATLAB allows you to work with entire matrices quickly and easily. This workshop will discuss:

  • Matrix generation
  • Subscripting and the Colon Notation 
  • Matrix and Array Operations
  • Matrix Manipulation
  • Data Analysis

Session 1: September 27, 2011    9:00 - 10:30 am    O'Neill 245
Session 2: September 27, 2011    1:00 – 2:30 pm     O’Neill 245 
(Sign up for only one session.  The content is the same)

MATLAB 3: Operators, Flow control, M - Files

The MATLAB provides a powerful programming language, as well asan interactive computational environment. You can enter commands fromthe language one at a time at the MATLAB command line, or you can write aseries of commands to a file that you then execute as you would any MATLABfunction. Creating M-files and efficient use of operators, and flow control commands, are necessary for efficient programming. This workshop will introduce:  

  • Relational and Logical Operators Flow Control
  • Scripts and Functions
  • Editing M-Files
  • Working with M-Files and the MATLAB Path

Session 1:  October 4, 2011    9:00 - 10:30 am    O'Neill 245
Session 2: October 4, 2011    1:00 – 2:30 pm     O’Neill 245
(Sign up for only one session.  The content is the same) 

MATLAB 4: Graphs and Visualization

The MATLAB environment provides a wide variety of techniques to displaydata graphically. Interactive tools enable you to manipulate graphs to achieveresults that reveal the most information about your data. You can alsoannotate and print graphs for presentations, or export graphs to standardgraphics formats. In this workshop we cover the basic use of MATLAB's most popular tools for graphing two- and three-dimensional data. We illustrate:

  • 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. 

Session 1: October 11, 2011     9:00 - 10:30 am   O'Neill 245
Session 2: October 11, 2011     1:00 – 2:30 pm    O’Neill 245
(Sign up for only one session.  The content is the same)

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 
  • Other introductory command

October 27, 2011 12:30 – 2:00 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, 2011 12:30 – 2:00 pm  O’Neill 245 

Stata 3: Using Mixed Modeling in Stata & HLM

Mixed Modeling is known by many names, such as “Hierarchical Linear Modeling,” “Generalized Linear Modeling,” “Multilevel modeling” and has been used by researchers in multiple social science disciplines such as social work, education, sociology, and nursing to capture “neighborhood effects.” The contextual impact that particular forms of memberships has on the individual can be better explained by the techniques of mixed modeling, when these memberships make a difference to outcomes of interest. Examples of this can be found in the clustering of classrooms, schools, demographic regions, occupations, or family systems. This tutorial will begin with a discussion on some of the updates to HLM, including their newest release since March 2011 of HLM 7. Sample data will be examined using HLM to identify fixed and random effects based on group membership, and these results will be replicated on Stata using the “xtmixed” command. 

November 9, 2011 12:00 - 1:30 pm  O’Neill 245