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Summer 2016 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 2016 Tutorials are:

Introduction to GIS Jun 15 11:00 - 12:30 O'Neill 307
Introduction to BC's Linux Cluster Jun 16 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 245
Locating and Using Data for Secondary Research at Boston College Jun 17 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 307
SAS Programming I Jun 17 12:00 - 2:00 O'Neill 245
Introduction to MATLAB Programming Jun 20 11:00 - 12:30 O'Neill 245
Introduction to Regression Jun 21 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 254
SAS Programming II Jun 27 12:00 - 2:00 O'Neill 245
Introduction to R Jun 28 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 254
Creating Web-Based Surveys with Qualtrics Jun 30 12:00 - 1:30 O'Neill 254
Primary Data Collection: Best Practices for Researchers Jul 7 10:00 - 12:00 O'Neill 254
Introduction to REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) Jul 7 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. This tutorial will highlight the newest Qualtrics “Insight Platform” which will be implemented at Boston College on June 21, and which will incorporate many improvements over the current Qualtrics Research Suite that has been the Qualtrics standard for the past 5 years. Boston College faculty, students, researchers, and administrative staff may create their own Qualtrics accounts in advance of the tutorial by logging on to with their BC credentials. If you already have a Qualtrics account, we will provide information on upgrading your account at the tutorial.

June 30, 2016 12:00 -  1:30 pm  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.  Currently we have a cluster named Pleiades available. This hands-on tutorial covers the following topics:

  • Overview of  Linux cluster system 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 and common commands
  • Basic Linux common commands
  • How to submit jobs to clusters
  • Compile, debug and run programs

June 16, 2016 12:00 - 1:30 pm O'Neil 245

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

June 15, 2016 11:00 - 12:30 pm  O'Neill 307

Introduction to MATLAB programming

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

June 20, 2016 11:00 - 12:30 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 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 28, 2016 12:00 - 1:30 pm  O'Neill 254

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 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 6.10.1 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

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 7, 2016 12:00 - 1:30 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.

June 21, 2016   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 17, 2016 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.

July 7, 2016 10:00 - 12:00 pm O'Neill 254

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 system
  • Introduce 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.

June 17, 2016 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

June 27, 2016 12:00 - 2:00 pm O'Neill 245