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Summer 2012 Tutorials

Information Technology Services

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 go to our on-line tutorial registration page at:  You will be asked to sign in using your BC username and password to register.  You can also use this web page to change the tutorials you signed up for.  You can also register by sending mail to with the names of the tutorials that you are interested in attending.

The Summer 2012 Tutorials are:

Creating Web-based Surveys with Qualtrics - Getting Started or Improving Your Existing Survey

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.

This tutorial will be a hands-on workshop appropriate for those who would like to begin their first survey in Qualtrics as well as for those who would like to continue to work on an existing survey or would like some assistance on developing more advanced surveys using survey logic, branching, or survey incentives that maintain participant anonymity. Once you sign up for this tutorial, you will be contacted by the instructor so that she may customize this tutorial to your specific needs and interests. Based on demand this tutorial may be divided into a beginning session at noon and an advanced session at 1:00 p.m.

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.

July 19, 2012   12:00 – 2:00 pm   O'Neill 245

Examining the Measurement Properties of a Scale with Reliability and Confirmatory Factor Analysis

This tutorial will explore the basic steps in establishing the reliability and validity of a scale in social science disciplines. 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.

July 18, 2012    12:00 – 1:30 pm O’Neill 245

Introduction to Gaussian & GaussView

Gaussian is a popular and widely used electronic structure programs and computational chemistry package.  GaussView is a graphical user interface (GUI) designed to be used with Gaussian to make calculation preparation and output analysis easier, quicker and more efficient.  This tutorial will introduce you to:

  • The history of Gaussian and GaussView
  • Gaussian and GaussView Capabilities
  • Input file preparation and keyword specification
  • BC's Linux cluster
  • GaussView 5.0 
  • Running Gaussian 09 on the Linux Cluster

July 31, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm O'Neil 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 
  • How to apply for an account
  • How to access  the cluster
  • Common Unix/Linux commands
  • How to use software modules and the queuing system
  • Compilers and computational libraries
  • How to compile, debug and run programs

July 16, 2012   12:00 – 1:30 pm O'Neil 245

Introduction to Power Analysis

The Power of a test tells us how likely is that a significant effect will we detected when it  exists.  It is influenced by a number of factors including sample size, level of significance and effect size. This tutorial will discuss the theoretical considerations for using power analysis for determining sample size for a research study and examples of how to use programs such as, GPower, Power and Sample Size from SAS & Stata for power analysis for a number of statistical models.

July 10, 2012   12:00 – 1:30  pm  O’Neill 245

Introduction to SAS 1

SAS is a powerful and the most widely used statistical software.  This tutorial introduces some of the basic steps in using SAS language to a new SAS user.  The following topics will be covered.

  • Getting started:  How/Where to start?
  • About SAS: Preliminary concepts and rules; structure of SAS programs
  • Data Step: Creating  datasets; inputting and reading data
  • Modify the data: Creating or redefining variables
  • Procedure Step: introducing simple procedures, such as, print, freq, and means
  • Output:  reading/understanding log and output files

July 17, 2012   12:00 – 1:30 pm  O’Neill 245

Introduction to SAS 2

This tutorial builds on what was introduced in the previous tutorial SAS 1. Topics to be covered will include:

  • Importing/Exporting data: Handling data from other databases. e.g. Excel, Stata
  • Operators in SAS: Working with SAS operations such as, arithmetic and Boolean.
  • Functions:  Using commonly used functions, including, mean, length, and put.
  • IF-THEN:    Using IF-THEN or ELSE statements
  • More Procedures:  Procedures for regression, anova, and other frequently used.
  • Merging and Subsetting:  Sorting, Creating, or subsetting  dataset, and merging multiple datasets.

July 19, 2012   2:00  – 3:30 pm     O’Neill 245

Introduction to Statistics in Social Science Research Using Stata

This introductory tutorial presents an introduction or review on the use of statistical methods and software in disciplines such as social work, psychology, education, nursing, and sociology. The workshop will begin with an overview of research resources at Boston College, such as statistical packages supported by the university and consultation services available from Research Services.

The workshop will use examples of commonly-used procedures from Stata, including descriptive analysis, bivariate analysis, and linear regression.

July 11, 2012    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 theStatistical 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.

July 12, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

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

July 9, 2012   2:00 – 3:30 pm  O’Neill 245

MATLAB 2:  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

July 10, 2012   2:00 – 3:30 pm  O’Neill 245

MATLAB 3:  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

July 12, 2012   2:00 – 3:30 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.

July 13, 2012   2:00 – 3:30 pm     O’Neill 245

Qualitative Discussion Group

We hope that this will be a series of open discussions for Qualitative researchers at Boston College. Based on the interests of attendees we will discuss getting started with new qualitative research projects as well as problem solving for ongoing qualitative research projects. We will use the expertise and experience of the instructor and attendees to discuss how different qualitative projects and methodologies can be approached. We may also discuss issues related to CAQDAS software such as HyperResearch, Nvivo and Atlas.ti.

Depending on the participants specific research interests we can also discuss individual coding questions or arrange for follow up consultations. We will also discuss topics for future discussions.

July 26, 2012  12:00 – 2:00 pm   O'Neill 245

Stata 1: Descriptive Analysis

Stata is a powerful, 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 emphasis in this tutorial is on exploring the data, cleaning the data for research purposes, using graphs, employing descriptive statistics and running simple regressions.

The following topics will be covered:

  • Getting started: open data files, use variable manager.
  • Explore the data: check variables, use labels and filters, describe data.
  • Modify the data: create new variables, recode data, examine and impute missing values.
  • Produce output: log-files, label book, codebook, graphs, simple regressions.

July 24, 2012   12:00 – 1:30 pm O’Neill 245

Stata 2: Regression Analysis

This hands-on tutorial is designed for beginning users who are familiar with the basics of Stata. The emphasis in this tutorial is on linear regressions and binary data analysis. Basic programming concepts are introduced.
The following topics will be covered:

  • Linear regression: OLS, significance tests, postestimation analysis.
  • Categorical variables: factor variables, interactions and interpretation.
  • Categorical outcomes: logit and probit models, multinomial and ordered logit, interpretation.
  • Programming skills: creating and using do-files, basic ideas.

July 25, 2012   12:00 – 1:30 pm O’Neill 245