These are exciting times at SSRC and in the College more generally. As we head into the summer and on into the new academic year, SSRC is going to be stronger than ever. Before telling you about some of our upcoming initiatives, let me give you an idea of why we’re feeling fitter than ever. First, earlier this year we brought on a new full-time staff Research Associate. Please allow me to introduce her: Jessica Speer is a researcher with an advanced degree in library and information science, which gives her a unique set of skills to bring to social science research. Her research interests include human information-seeking behavior and data management and preservation, as well as using new technologies and media in research, education, and training. In her free time, she plays music with her husband and is working on a preservation strategy for their collection of more than 10 years of master tapes from their DIY record label, Colonial Recordings USA. Aside from being an exceptionally competent social science researcher, Jessica is quite simply a really good person. Please join me in welcoming her to DePaul … and feel free to come by and pay her a visit, seek her assistance on your research project, or drop off your own favorite mix tape!
The other reason we’re feeling particularly fit is that we’ve spent a good deal of time reflecting on and refining SSRC’s mission. We exist as a kind of in-house “consulting” enterprise dedicated to building social research capacity among the faculty-scholars in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Methodological consultation is our bread and butter. From ethnography to qualitative interviews to hierarchical linear modeling of secondary data sets, no research design, method, or technique lies outside our range of expertise. In addition to being methodology consultants, we’re also here to provide you with assistance in finding and obtaining funding and to help you “translate” your research into lay terms and then get it out into the public sphere using new social media information technologies. So … from nuts to soup, your research is our business.
Speaking of business, we have so many new initiatives on the horizon. As you’ll see in this newsletter, we’ll soon be offering workshops on NVivo 9, the lastest edition of the qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) program popular among PC users. In the fall, I’ll be teaching a workshop on HyperResearch, a 25+ year old QDAS program that runs native on the Mac OSX platform. Also in the autumn we’ll be convening a series of working groups comprised of faculty and advanced graduate students who share a common interest in “visual” social science — the use of photographic and/or videographic evidence as data and/or as a vehicle for the conveyance of research results, findings, and/or implications. Another working group will focus on the use of new social media and information technologies to present research results in the public realm. More on these working groups to come … please stay tuned. Finally, near the end of the fall term we’ll be starting up a speaker series — a kind of “brown bag” colloquium on research methods where experts from within and outside DePaul come to share their wise ways with us.
As I said, these are some really exciting times at SSRC and in the College more generally. SSRC has matured rapidly into what I would call a real powerhouse research methodology consulting group. The professional staff and graduate research assistants who work here are all top flight — they’re very good at what they do, but they’re also just really neat people. So if you haven’t come by to see us yet, please do so soon. You don’t need to have a question or problem with your data or a poster to print for a conference or a request for conference room space or need to borrow audio-video recording equipment … just drop by for a friendly chat over a cup of freshly brewed Eight O’Clock Bean Coffee. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.
Greg Scott, PhD
Director, Social Science Research Center