Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Empirical Reasoning Center do?
We are a service that helps students and faculty with all kinds of “empirical reasoning,” or the use of data to describe people and things and apply critical reasoning to make inferences about those people and things. We offer a variety of services to faculty, students, alumnae, and staff:
One-on-one assistance during our lab hours with assignments, projects, and theses that require the use of quantitative, qualitative, or geospatial data
Online tutorials and guides on the use of certain software packages that are commonly used with data, such as Excel, Stata and R
Workshops for certain classes that require the use of software
Partner with faculty members to design and deliver workshops to help students learn about software packages that use data, such as Excel, R, and ArcGIS
Work with faculty members to identify data sources to use for in-class demonstrations and assignments
Work with faculty members to identify innovative ways in which to teach empirical methods to students, including help with designing assignments and grading rubrics
Work with faculty members to develop assessments of students' empirical work
- The ERC offers dedicated workshops in Excel (basic, introductory, and intermediate) for Alums (in partnership with Beyond Barnard) during each semester. Alums are also welcome to join any open workshops throughout the academic year.
Alumnae can also email for appointments (currently enrolled undergraduates are the priority, but the ERC has always been able to accommodate appointments for alums) or drop in to walk in hours
Alumae can also use the ERC computer lab when workshops are not in session (and as long as there is enough seating for undergraduates who are in the lab for walk-in support).
- The ERC offers open workshops during the academic year, and staff are welcome to attend. We also occasionally offers dedicated workshops in Excel for Barnard staff in partnership with HR.
Staff can email the ERC for appointments.
Staff can use the ERC computer lab when workshops are not in session (and as long as there is enough seating for undergraduates who are in the lab for walk-in support).
Does the ERC help students with qualitative data?
Yes! While we primarily focus on quantitative data and analysis, we can offer some guidance with qualitatively focused projects. In particular, we have worked with students conducting and analyzing interview and focus group transcripts in addition to providing training on content analysis of open-ended survey responses. We can offer assistance on a case-by-case basis for text analysis in R or Python, but we do not support specific text-analysis software such as Nvivo or Atlas.ti
Can the ERC help me find data for a class project or senior thesis?
Yes! We have resources to do that in the lab, so please come in and let us help you. Librarians are also a great resource for help with finding data.
Can the ERC help me formulate a research question for a paper or thesis?
Yes! We’ll help guide you from your interests to a research question that you can answer. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help with research design.
Is the ERC a statistical consulting service? Will they do my statistics for me?
While the ERC does provide some services that are similar to a statistical consulting service - primarily our one-on-one support for students - we’re not exactly a consulting service. Our role is not to perform your analyses for you, but to help you learn how to do it yourself and build your skills. Our staff are instructed not to provide interpretations of statistical analyses. There is also a math help room in the collaborative space on the 5th floor of the Milstein Center that does provide support for help with statistics.