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Summer 2015 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 Summer 2015 Tutorials are:

Locating And Using Data For Secondary Research At Boston College Jun 19 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 307
Introduction to GIS Jun 22 11:00 - 12:30 O'Neill 307
Introduction to Regression Jun 23 12:00 - 1:30 Carney 033B
MATLAB 1: Introduction to MATLAB programming Jun 24 11:00 - 12:30 O'Neill 254
Introduction to Mixed Modeling Jun 24 12:00 - 1:30 Carney 033B
Introduction to SAS 1 Jun 25 11:00 - 12:00 Carney 033B
Introduction to SAS 2 Jun 25 12:00 - 1:00 Carney 033B
MATLAB 2: Graphs and Visualization Jun 26 11:00 - 12:30 O'Neill 254
Introduction to R Jun 30 12:00 - 1:30 Carney 033B
Introduction to BC's Linux Cluster Jul 8 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neil 254
Monte Carlo Simulations Using R Jul 10 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 254
Using Excel For Descriptive Statistics Jul 14 10:00 - 11:00 O'Neill 254
Introduction To REDCap Jul 15 10:00 - 12:00 O'Neill 254
Primary Data Collection: Best Practices for Researchers Jul 15 12:00 - 2:00 O'Neill 254
Creating Web-Based Surveys With Qualtrics Jul 16 12:00 - 2:00 O'Neill 254
Stata 1: Getting Started, Descriptive Stats And Do Files Jul 21 12:00 -1:30 O'Neill 254
Stata 2: Graphing, Dataset Combining, Linear Regression, Stat/Transfer Jul 28 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 254

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. Strength of Qualtrics is its panel feature for repeated polling, built in social media sharing functions, and accessibility 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.
The first hour will be an introduction. The optional second hour will be a workshop to begin to develop or improve your existing Qualtrics survey.

BC community members who do not already have a Qualtrics account may contact for a Qualtrics account. Please note the Boston College School with which you are affiliated.

Thursday, July 16, 2015 Noon - 2:00, O’Neill 254

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.  This hands-on tutorial covers the following topics:

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

July 8, 2015 12:00 - 1:30 pm O'Neil 254

Introduction to GIS

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 be also discussed. No prior knowledge of GIS is required.

June 22, 2015 11:00 - 12:30 pm  O’Neill 307

Introduction to Mixed 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 package.  This class follows up the Intro to Regression class held on June 23, the previous day.  However you need not attend both classes.

June 24, 2015 12:00 - 1:30 pm  Carney 033B

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 to 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.

June 30, 2015 12:00 - 1:30 pm Carney 033B .

Introduction To REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture)

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 has recently joined 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
  • How to enter data into RedCAP
  • How to control RedCAP user access rights
  • How to create ad hoc reports and export your data

Prior to the class, Research Services will create a TEST project for teaching and learning purposes for each class participant.  Research Services staff are also available to meet with members of the Boston College community to discuss individual REDCap projects.

July 15, 2015 10:00 - 12:00 pm O’Neill 254

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 and will be held the next day.

June 23, 2015   12:00  - 1:30 pm  Carney 033B

Introduction to SAS 1

This tutorial is an Introduction to SAS.  It is designed for people with a basic knowledge of statistics who have never used SAS.  We will talk about the basics including:

  • What is SAS
  • Introduction to the  SAS work environment
  • Write, submit, debug, and save SAS programs
  • Input data into SAS, exchange data from other data formats
  • How to run descriptive statistics
  • How to run basic regressions and other models

June 25, 2015 11:00 - 12:00 pm Carney 033B

Introduction to SAS 2

This tutorial builds on SAS 1. We will focus on analytics and data management aspects, introduce basic steps of SAS programming and structure, and demonstrate the internet resources to get started programming in SAS.  Topics covered include:

Data manipulations

  • SAS data types, and data type conversions
  • Combine and subset SAS datasets
  • SAS functions
  • SAS data steps and proc steps
  • Manage SAS libraries and files

Internet resources:

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

June 25, 2015 12:00 - 1:00 pm Carney 033B

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

July 21, 2015  12:00 -1:30 pm  O'Neill 254

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

July 28, 2015 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 also 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.

June 19, 2015 12:00 - 1:30 pm   O’Neill 307

MATLAB 1: Introduction to MATLAB programming

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 Help
  • MATLAB on Linux Cluster
  • Interactive Session
  • Editing Script Files
  • Flow Control
  • Scripts and Functions
  • Read and Write Excel and Text Files

June 24, 2015 11:00 - 12:30 pm  O’Neill 254

MATLAB 2: 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 relevant 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 main MATLAB functions for two- and three-dimensional graphics. We illustrate:

  • Two-Dimensional Graphics
  • Basic Plots
  • Axes and Annotation
  • Multiple Plots in a Figure
  • Three-Dimensional Graphics
  • Saving and Printing Figures

Examples presented (m files) can be easily modified and applied to your specific experimental or model data.

June 26, 2015 11:00 - 12:30 pm  O’Neill 254

Monte Carlo Simulations Using R

Monte Carlo simulations make use of random (or psuedo random) draws from an error distribution and multiple replications over a set of known parameters. This approach is
helpful in studies where the only analytical findings involve asymptotic, large-sample results.

We will demonstrate how R may be used for Monte Carlo Simulations.

This tutorial would be useful for statistics students in Economics, Business, and the Social Sciences. Some familiarity with R would be helpful.

You can download R for free from:

July 10, 2015  12:00 - 1:30 pm O'Neill 254

Primary Data Collection: Best Practices for Researchers

There are methodological considerations for all types of data collection whether quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods 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 to avoid a lot of pre-analysis data cleaning and data manipulation, and demonstrate how to import the results of your online survey into both quantitative and qualitative software tools for analysis. We will also discuss best practices for HIPAA compliance and data security.
July 15, 2015  12:00  - 2:00 pm  O’Neill 254

Using Excel For Descriptive Statistics

The tutorial is an introduction to basic statistical methods in Excel. It will cover Excel tools and routines for implementing univariate and bivariate statistical analysis. We will talk about data cleaning: recoding, creating new variables, defining value labels, handling missing values.

We will  cover basic excel functions to obtain and interpret statistical results. Topics include how to get a quick sense of the data and convey ideas using graphs.

July 14, 2015 10:00  -  12:00 pm  O'Neill 254