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 Services Core at Social Sciences Research Institute (SSRI)

The DSC at SSRI is available to provide you with advice on managing and analyzing empirical data. It is the mission of the group to assist with interdisciplinary research within the Social Sciences at Duke and to address any data questions you may have.

SSRI has a new help desk that provides hands-on assistance in an array of statistical methods and tools to all Duke affiliates. The help desk is housed in SSRI's computer lab, Erwin Mill B140 (see map). Their services include:

  • Developing models and testable hypotheses, data collection;
  • Survey design, survey implementation, online survey software (Qualtrics, Checkbox);
  • Bayesian statistics, endogeneity and selection bias, latent variable models, linear models, missing data, multivariate statistics/dimensional analysis, panel data, social network analysis, spatial econometrics, visual display of quantitative information;
  • Excel, Matlab, MPlus, NodeXL, GIS, R, SAS, SPSS, Stata


For advice on theoretical statistical approaches, the DSC may refer you to someone at the Statistics Consulting Group for assistance. 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.

Statistical services include Stata, SAS, and SPSS data analysis. DSC is also exploring adding Data Anonymization services for researchers needing to release publicly available data.

Limited PHP programming assistance can be provided in order to create data-driven web sites, depending on the programmer's availability. As a general rule, any programming or statistical work that requires more than one day to complete will require funding, and long-term projects cannot be accepted.

The SSRI can also assist at the grant proposal stage by providing you with recommendations surrounding research costs, data management plans, and costs associated with meeting funding agency requirements.

Finally, a multi-terabyte file data storage system designed for interdisciplinary research is available to store your data sets. If the data is sensitive or restricted, we have other data storage options around campus that provide heightened levels of data security.

For assistance, contact Gary Thompson, Associate Director, Data Services Core (; 681-5873) or the SSRI help desk.

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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.

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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.

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