The Goodson Law Library's Empirical Research Program can help connect you to expertise available elsewhere on the Duke University campus. Three of the most popular contacts for empirical legal research support are the Social Sciences Research Institute, the Data & GIS Services department of Perkins Library, and the Ford Library at the Fuqua School of Business. A description of available services is below.

Data Information Services at Social Sciences Research Institute (SSRI)
The Data Information Services (DIS) group offers expertise in solving data and research issues relevant to social science research and computing, including help with data resources and online data interfaces. DIS can also connect researchers with interests across social and behavioral science areas and facilitate collaboration across the Duke campus.

SSRI has a help desk called the "Connection Bar" staffed by graduate students who can provide detailed assistance on all steps of the research process. It is located on the second floor of Gross Hall, and there are drop-in hours between 10 am and 6 p.m. weekdays. You can also make an appointment for individual help.

The Connection Bar offers advice on the following topics:

  • Model development and hypothesis specification
  • Duke data resources
  • Crafting and conducting surveys and interviews
  • Qualtrics survey software
  • Common statistical procedures, such as frequencies, crosstabs, OLS and logistic regression
  • Common statistical software, including R, SPSS, Stata and SAS
  • Content analysis, ethnography and coding of textual information
  • NVivo qualitative software

SSRI also offers classes on introductory statistical packages such as Stata, SAS, SPSS, M-Plus (SEM), R and ArcMap. See the complete list of workshops.

SSRI has a team of grant specialists who can assist at the proposal stage by providing you with recommendations surrounding research costs, data management plans, and costs associated with meeting funding agency requirements. 

DIS can also assist in managing data, creating and/or fixing websites, and in some circumstances provide unique programming work, including Stata, SAS, Perl, Python, PHP, SQL, and others. If you have a project for which you need extensive assistance, contact Gary Thompson, Associate Director, to explore what may be feasible and whether outside funding will be required.

Finally, SSRI can provide you with protected data support, including assistance with IRB submissions, data procurement, and storage options The SSRI Protected Data Network leverages OIT’s Virtual Machine network to provide a secure data repository and computational platform. Contact  Paul Pooley, Protected Data Specialist, Data Information Services,  Gary Thompson, Associate Director, Data Information Services, or  Josh Smith, IT Manager, Data Information Services for more information.

Back to top

Data & GIS Services, Duke University Libraries

The Data and GIS Services group at Perkins Library can assist you in locating data collections to use for your research. Their website provides access to licensed datasets, as well as links to freely-available datasets. Topics include business trends, education statistics, labor statistics, political behavior, and a full range of demographic information.

Although no statistical analysis or interpretation can be provided, you can attend training on how to use numerous statistical software programs such as SAS, Stata, and SPSS through scheduled workshops.

Please contact Joel Herndon, Ph.D. (Head, Data and GIS Services), for more information or assistance.

Back to top

Datasets at the Fuqua School of Business

The Fuqua School of Business has access to market and economics data, such as unemployment statistics, international stock market data, and Standard and Poor's 500 data. In order to request a data set, you will need to identify the exact series of data and the timeframe you require. Some of these data sets can be downloaded directly from the website. However, for unusually large datasets that require a lengthy download time, or for more general data requests for which you do not have defined parameters, you will need to send over a research assistant who will be trained on how to access the data. There is no charge for these services.

To request help accessing a dataset, please contact Associate Director & Manager of Public Services Jane Day (, 660-7874). For technical questions, please contact Associate Director & Manager of IT Services Carlton Brown (, 660-7871). Typical response time is within 24 hours.

Back to top