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Spring 2017 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.

Please note that the locations of the tutorials varies.

The Spring 2017 Tutorials are:

Locating And Using Data For Secondary Research At Boston College Jan 23 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 307
Introduction to Regression Jan 24 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
Introduction to Multi-Level Modeling Jan 25 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
Introduction to R Jan 26 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
SAS Programming I Jan 27 12:00 - 2:00 O'Neill 245
Primary Data Collection: Best Practices for Researchers Jan 31 10:30 - 12:00 O'Neill 245
Introduction To RedCAP Jan 31 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
SAS Programming II Feb 1 12:00 - 2:00 O'Neill 245
Creating Web-Based Surveys With Qualtrics Feb 2 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems Feb 3 11:00 - 12:30 O'Neill 307
Introduction To Stata 1 Feb 7 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
Introduction To Qualitative Analysis Software Tools Feb 9 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
Introduction to MATLAB Feb 10 11:00 - 12:30 O'Neill 307
Introduction To Stata 2 Feb 10 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 254
Data Management in Stata Feb 15 12:00 - 2:00 O'Neill 245
Introduction to BC’s Linux Cluster Feb 16 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245

Creating Web-Based Surveys With Qualtrics

Qualtrics offers a fairly intuitive Graphical User Interface to create complex surveys without complicated programming or coding.   Qualtrics offers extensive documentation, free online tutorials, an extensive library of surveys and options for encryption and anonymity, and excellent customer support.  Qualtrics also offers built in social media sharing functions and an accessiblilty checker. Working within pre-defined templates, you can use many different types of questions, including text, multiple checkboxes, sliders, single-answer radio buttons, and Likert scales.  Qualtrics offers extensive branching functionality.

Once the survey is completed, data can be downloaded into a format that can be used with a variety of quantitative and qualitative analysis programs. Qualtrics also offers foreign language functionality.

This tutorial will demonstrate how to create a survey in Qualtrics and also include a section on research protections and informed consent with respect to online survey development, distribution, and analysis. This tutorial will highlight the newest Qualtrics “Insight Platform” Boston College faculty, students, researchers, and administrative staff may create their own Qualtrics accounts in advance of the tutorial by logging on at this website: with their BC credentials. If you already have a Qualtrics account, we will provide information on upgrading your account at the tutorial.

February 2, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm O’Neill 245

Data Management in Stata

Stata is a useful tool for cleaning and reshaping data. Even if analyses are performed with other software, Stata is a great tool for these processes. These skills are helpful to researchers at all levels as well as to people going on the job market for research/data related positions. We prefer that people attending this class have some familiarity with Stata. Minimally we would like attendees to have attended the introductory course for Stata 1 that Research Services is offering during the week of February 7 (or equivalent/attendees should have some basic familiarity with Stata and .do files). If you have questions about this tutorial please send them to

  • Data Files and Code Management
    • Commands Files
    • Data Files
  • Basic Data Analysis
    • Data Description : summ, tab, tabstat, sort, list
    •  Data Transformation: gen, egen, dummy, keep, drop
  • Advanced Data Manipulation
    • Managing string variables: split, substring, subinstr
    • Concatenating variables (joining variables): concat
    • Grouping observations by variable category: group()
    • Collapsing data: collapse, by
    • Duplicates: duplicates tag, report, list, drop
    • Managing missing observations: misstable
  • Appending Data
    • Across Identical Variables
    • Across Non-Identical Variables
  • Merging Data:  one-to-one, many-to-one, one-to-many
  • Reshaping Data
    • Wide to Long
    • Long to Wide

February 15, 2017 12:00 - 2:00 pm O'Neil 245

Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

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. Available GIS technologies are used to perform various tasks, from simple to advanced, including:  mapping, geographic analysis, geostatistics, data editing, compilation, management, and visualization.

This session will introduce users to: 1) GIS data and technical support at Boston College; 2) Examples and demos using Census and Environmental data; 3). Options to get data and training will also be discussed. No prior knowledge of GIS is required.

February 3, 2017 11:00 – 12:30 pm O’Neill 307

Introduction to BC’s Linux Cluster

This tutorial is intended to be an introduction to the Linux cluster at Boston College. An overview, the primary components, philosophy, how to connect and apply BC’s Linux cluster will be presented.  Currently we have a cluster named Pleiades available. This hands-on tutorial covers the following topics:

  • Overview of  the Linux cluster at Boston College
  • The hardware/software architecture
  • Management of Linux Cluster
  • How to set your local machine and access of BC clusters
  • Linux, PBS queuing system common commands
  • Basic Linux common
  • How to submit jobs to clusters
  • Compile, debug and run programs

February 16, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm O'Neil 245

Introduction to MATLAB

This seminar provides 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 presents:

  • MATLAB Help
  • Interactive Session
  • Editing Script Files
  • Flow Control
  • Scripts and Functions
  • Read and Write Excel and Text Files
  • Toolboxes
  • Graphics

February 10, 2017 11:00 - 12:30 pm O’Neill 307

Introduction to Multi-Level Modeling

Mixed modeling, also known as multi-level modeling or sometime hierarchical linear modeling, is an essential tool in many research areas.  In biomedical research most designs are longitudinal, in social sciences there are often clusters of data such as students within classrooms within schools.  Many familiar methods such as ANOVA or regression assume that all observations are recorded independently.  Having clusters of correlated data violates this assumption and makes these methods invalid.  Mixed Modeling is an extension of regression that allows us to correctly model correlated data.  This tutorial is designed to give an introduction to linear mixed modeling.  We will focus on situations and designs where these methods are required, the dangers of using the wrong methods, and interpretation of the results that are standard across most statistical software packages.

January 25, 2017 12:00- 1:30 pm O ’Neill 245

Introduction To Qualitative Analysis Software Tools

This workshop provides introductory demonstrations of a number of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software tools. Based on participant interest we will discuss and demonstrate NVIVO 11, HyperResearch 3.7.3, and Atlas.ti 8. These tools may be used to manage large amounts of qualitative data, to code and re-code qualitative data, may be used in mixed methods projects, and may be used to keep an audit trail of the analysis process, and to support both individual researchers and research teams in discussing coding and analysis issues.

February 9, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm, O'Neill 245

Introduction to R

R is widely used  free statistical  software. To take advantage of R’s flexible output and graphics, packages are actively being developed that interface R with other programs such as M-plus.  The rapid growth of R means that knowledge of this software will be essential to researchers doing complex statistical analysis.  This tutorial will explain how to download and install R (it’s free!!), learn basic operations.  We will focus on a couple concrete examples so that attendees will get familiar with the R environment.

January 26, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm O’Neill 245


This tutorial is geared towards Boston College Principal Investigators, researchers and research project team managers. REDCap stands for Research Electronic Data Capture. REDCap is a web based, data collection, database management system that was originally developed at Vanderbilt University, initially for medical research. REDCap is now overseen by a consortium of academic research partners in the United States and throughout the world. Boston College is part of the REDCap consortium.

In this introduction to REDCap we will discuss:

  • How to request a REDCap project at Boston College
  • How to make sure that your RedCAP project complies with the mandates of your project's IRB approval
  • How to create basic data collection forms
  • An introduction to best practices for setting up your REDCap project
  • Recent improvements in BC's newest release of REDCap including offline survey capabilities, text to voice capability, potential for using SMS services (for an additional fee), improved field calculations and more
  • How to enter data into RedCAP
  • How to control RedCAP user access rights
  • How to export your data

Research Services staff are also available to meet with members of the Boston College community to discuss individual REDCap projects.

January 31, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm, O’Neill 245

Introduction to Regression

As the most common methodology in statistical analysis regression is an important tool for any modern researcher.  This course is intended as an introduction to standard or linear regression.  We will focus on estimation methods, identifying and validating model assumptions.  We will also focus on hypothesis testing for regression estimates and statistical model building.  We will use R software but the goal of the course is to learn concepts and is not intended as a tutorial any specific software.  Note:  The mixed modeling course is a natural sequel to Introduction to Regression.

January 24, 2017   12:00 - 1:30 pm  O’Neill 245

Introduction To Stata 1: Getting Started, Descriptive Stats And Do Files

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, and generating descriptive statistics.

  • Loading data
  • Data manipulation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Do-files and log files

February 7, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm O’Neill 245

Introduction To Stata 2: Graphing, Dataset Combining, Linear Regression, Stat/Transfer

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 basic graphing, merging data, and linear regression.

  • Basic graphing and graph editor
  • Combining multiple datasets
  • Linear Regression in Stata
  • Stat/Transfer, importing and exporting

February 10, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm  O’Neill 254

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. We will discuss best practices for curation of both primary and secondary research data. Topics may be customized based on attendees' research interests. Please contact for more information.

January 23, 2017 12:00 - 1:30 pm   O’Neill 307

Primary Data Collection: Best Practices for Researchers

There are methodological considerations for all types of data collection whether quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods data are being used. Our emphasis will be on survey design for quantitative analysis (although the principles discussed will also be applicable to qualitative and mixed methods research and direct data input into an analytical tool). We will discuss how to design online surveys and databases to avoid a lot of pre-analysis data cleaning and data manipulation.

January 31, 2017 10:30 - 12:00  pm O’Neill 245

SAS Programming I

This tutorial is an Introduction to SAS programming. It is designed for people with a basic knowledge of statistics who are beginners of SAS programming. We will talk about basic steps of SAS programming and structure, and demonstrate the internet resources to get started programming in SAS, including not limited to:

  • What is SAS
  • Introduction to the  SAS work environment
  • Write, submit, debug, and save SAS programs
  • SAS data steps and proc steps
  • Manage SAS libraries and files
  • How to run descriptive statistics
  • How to run basic regressions and other models

Internet resources

  • SAS online documents, technical support websites
  • Good SAS learning websites

Students are encouraged to bring in their own data problems and SAS programming questions into the tutorial.

January 27, 2017 12:00 - 2:00 pm O'Neill 245

SAS Programming II

This tutorial is designed for existing SAS users who have already known the basics of SAS but looking for more advanced tips and skills. We will focus on data manipulations, analytics and data management aspects, including not limited to the following, Students are encouraged to bring in their own data problems and SAS programming questions into the tutorial.

  • SAS data types, and data type conversions
  • Combine and subset SAS datasets
  • SAS functions
  • Import/export data from other data sources
  • SAS SQL procedure and its comparison with DATA step
  • Program efficiency issues with large datasets
  • Most widely used statistical procedures
  • Other questions raised by audience

February 1, 2017 12:00 - 2:00 pm O'Neill 245