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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Empirical Reasoning Center do?
Does the ERC help with qualitative data?
Can the ERC help me find a data set for a project?
Can the ERC help me formulate a research question for a project?
Is the ERC a statistical consulting service?
 

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 and students:

Students

  • One-on-one assistance during our lab hours with assignments, projects, and theses that require the use of data
  • Online tutorials on the use of certain software packages that are commonly used with data, such as Excel, Stata and SPSS
  • Workshops for certain classes that require the use of software

Faculty

  • Partner with faculty members to design and deliver workshops to help students learn about software packages that use data, such as Excel, Stata, 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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.