Center for Social Science Research

As part of the Lucy Family Institute, the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) is dedicated to improving the quality and efficiency of social research at the University of Notre Dame by working with faculty, students, and staff across all academic disciplines.

The CSSR's highly trained team offers expertise in research design, data collection, modeling and analysis, and visualization. The CSSR also offers training, database resources, and a virtual help desk available to anyone at Notre Dame needing quick assistance with statistics.

Whether a scholar is starting new research or developing an existing project, the CSSR can assist in the following ways:

Research Design

Well-designed research solves many problems, from securing pilot funding all the way through the completion of the research project lifecycle.

Partnering with the CSSR to design your next research project could:

  • reduce the cost to collect and analyze data, 
  • ensure the use of the most appropriate research methods,
  • and increase the potential impact of your work through ideation, data collection strategies, data management planning, process design, and automation.

While best engaged early in the project lifecycle, the CSSR can be engaged at any point to support proposal development, to provide capacity in the early stages of research, and to ensure that the data to be collected can meets the needs of the preferred analytical approaches.

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Data Collection

Without data, empirical social science falls flat. The CSSR partners with researchers across Notre Dame to develop, implement, and execute data collection strategies appropriate for the research problems within a budget. The team has expertise in identifying potential data sources, as well as acquiring, organizing, and utilizing data from various agencies and repositories, such as the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, and various government agencies.

CSSR staff are experts at designing, programming, populating, and maintaining social science research databases through complex web surveys, implementation of web crawling and data scraping techniques, and fielding mobile data collection and information services solutions. Our data collection services include assisting researchers with developing data management plans as well as archiving and sharing data from completed projects. Data collection strategies are also important to ensure that the data being collected meets the needs of your preferred analytical methods.

Aside from helping you choose the appropriate tools, we can:

  • Build, test, and assist in deploying data collection via a mobile app or information service
  • Manage back-end operations (i.e. hosting locally or in the cloud)
  • Provide best practices and expertise with data management and analysis

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Modeling and Analysis

Research scientists and consultants at the CSSR are here to help you with matters as simple as troubleshooting code to more complex statistical models and interpretation. The CSSR provides a full range of modeling and analysis services designed to enhance the quality of your research. The CSSR will assist in determining and implementing appropriate analytic frameworks, troubleshooting code problems, creating customized statistical models, and drafting methodological notes for inclusion in journal articles, books, and other publications.

Our expertise spans descriptive and inferential statistics with key capacities in data science techniques such as machine learning and advanced statistical learning. The CSSR has also developed a strong competency in text analysis and mining of unstructured data. CSSR staff have aided researchers at Notre Dame using the following statistical approaches:

  • General statistical consulting of data and methodologies, e.g., ANOVA, power analysis, and factor analysis
  • Experimental design
  • Item response theory
  • Time series analysis
  • Longitudinal data analysis
  • Generalized linear model
  • Machine learning
  • Text mining
  • Topic modeling

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Visualization is the application of visual and interactive models of data to facilitate exploration and learning. The CSSR is here to help identify and execute the most appropriate visualization strategies for presentations, papers, and websites. Web-based visualization provides interactive options for public dissemination of your research and further analysis.  

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Stats Help Desk

The CSSR Statistics Help Desk is available to all Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students seeking technical and methodological research assistance. Statistical consultants provide support and guidance on the statistical application of projects from the social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. We have expertise in R, Python, and Stata as well as working knowledge of programming languages such as Java.

In addition to providing assistance with navigating statistical software, CSSR Help Desk consultants are available to aid in the research design, program evaluation, causal inference, sampling and data collection, modeling, data visualization, and interpretation of statistical results.

Statistical consultations are typically scheduled for one hour and are available on a recurring basis. Please fill out this service form to initiate a request for consultation or email cssr@nd.edu. The CSSR is currently working remotely, but are able to consult via Zoom.

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