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Research Services

spring 2011 tutorials

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 Spring 2011 tutorials are:

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 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. 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.

February 8, 2011 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.
Mar 23, 2011  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.

February 23, 2011 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

February 22, 2011   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, 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.

March 18, 2011     3:00 - 4:30 pm   O’Neill 245

Introduction to the Linux Cluster

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

  • Overview of the Linux cluster system at Boston College
  • Elements of Scorpio cluster system
  • Philosophy and management rules
  • Physical system and hardware architecture
  • Software modules
  • PBS queuing system
  • File and data backup system
  • Compilers and computational libraries
  • How to use the Linux cluster
  • Application for an account
  • Remote access of the cluster system
  • Common Unix/Linux commands
  • Compile, debug and run programs

March 16, 2011   11:30 - 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 recently released Nvivo 9, Atlas.ti 6.2 and HyperResearch 3.0.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.

March 29, 2011 12:00 - 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
  • 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

February 1, 2011  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

February 2, 2011   12:00 - 1:30 pm  O’Neil 245

MATLAB 1: Introduction to MATLAB programming: 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

February 7, 2011     11:30 - 1:00 pm   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 2: Introduction to MATLAB programming: Matrices

Matrices are fundamental to MATLAB, and even if you are not intending to use MATLAB for linear algebra computations you need to become familiar with matrix generation 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

February 14, 2011   11:30 -1:00 pm   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 3: Introduction to MATLAB programming:  Operators, Flow control, M - Files

The MATLAB provides a powerful programming language, as well as an interactive computational environment. You can enter commands from the language one at a time at the MATLAB command line, or you can write a series of commands to a file that you then execute as you would any MATLAB function. 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

February 21, 2011   11:30-  1:00 pm   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 4: Graphs and Visualization

The MATLAB environment provides a wide variety of techniques to display data graphically. Interactive tools enable you to manipulate graphs to achieve results that reveal the most information about your data. You can also annotate and print graphs for presentations, or export graphs to standard graphics 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.

February 28, 2011     11:30 - 1:00 pm   O’Neill 245

MATLAB 5: 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 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 linear regression analysis for bivariate data

March 14, 2011    11:30 - 1:00 pm   O’Neill 245

Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access 2007 is for creating small and midsized computer desktop databases.   This tutorial will help you get started with Access, even if you have never used a database before.  Topics covered include:

  • Introduces a basic fundamental of the Access
  • Create a database
  • Create a table and fields in it
  • Save data and information
  • Create a report from the database

March 30, 2011 11:30 - 1:00 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…

April 6, 2011 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

April 13, 2011 12:00 - 1:30 pm  O’Neill 245

Stata 3 – Panel Models

This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginning users 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: 

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

April 27, 2011 12:00 - 1:30 pm  O’Neil 245