This web guide is meant as a resource for the BELS community — BerkeleyLaw & CSLS affiliated faculty, graduate students, BerkeleyLaw Center researchers, CSLS and other Center visiting scholars. It is divided into 3 sections: Data Resources, Data Help, and Courses.
Data collection can be a daunting and expensive challenge to researchers undertaking a new empirical project. At times, rather than setting out to create a new survey or collect original data, you may find that someone else, or some agency, has been collecting data that well serves the purposes of your research, saving not only money but months or years of data collection. Here, we provide information about how to find information about extant data sources, and how to get help with using these data.
There are some excellent courses available for faculty and graduate students wanting to improve their empirical research skills. We describe the major offerings and provide links to their websites. Click here for the CSLS Miniseries in Empirical Research Methods.
Collections of Datasets
Data Resources By Subject Area
Data Use Help
U.C. Berkeley – Main Library Data Lab
The Data Lab, located in Doe Annex 189, provides access to a growing collection of electronic data files and analytical software including MS Excel, SAS, SPSS, Stata, and DataFerret, for use in data analysis. The Lab also has mapping and geospatial analysis software, and always is adding new material. The Library Data Lab staff can help you locate, retrieve, and use computer-readable, numeric data.
U.C. Berkeley – Department of Statistics
The Department of Statistics operates a consulting service during Fall and Spring semesters in which advanced graduate students, under faculty supervision, are available as consultants during specified hours. Members of the campus community are encouraged to use this service for statistical advice at any stage of their research. They are especially encouraged to come in early in their research so that the consultants may be helpful at the design stage.
Data Use Tutorial
This tutorial has information on terms, formats, and statistical vocabulary; searching and finding the data you need; accessing data; downloading; analyzing data using statistical software; and online data analysis using SDA.
Courses in Empirical Research
There are a number of short courses for graduate students and junior faculty seeking to improve their quantitative research skills, some with a focus on law-related research. Some of the programs offer scholarships to ease the sometimes not insubstantial costs.We provide links to currently available courses:
Conducting Empirical Legal Scholarship WorkshopMay 20 – 22, 2009Presented by Northwestern University School of Law and Washington University The Conducting Empirical Legal Scholarship workshop is for law school faculty interested in learning about empirical research. Leading empirical scholars Lee Epstein and Andrew Martin will teach the workshop, which provides the formal training necessary to design, conduct, and assess empirical studies, and to use statistical software (Stata) to analyze and manage data. Participants need no background or knowledge of statistics to enroll in the workshop.
This program of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) provides intensive training with highly qualified faculty members.
Application and registration information on the website is for summer 2009.
“Founded in 1963, the ICPSR Summer Program is recognized throughout the world as the preeminent forum for basic and advanced training in the methodologies and technologies of social science research. We serve a diverse multidisciplinary and international constituency. Our general instructional philosophy emphasizes the integration of methodological strategies with the theoretical and practical concerns that arise in research on substantive social issues.”
“The Mission of the Summer Program”• To offer instruction for the primary development and “upgrading” of quantitative skills by college and university faculty and by nonacademic research scholars• To extend the scope and depth of analytic skills for graduate students, college and university faculty, and research scientists from the public sector• To furnish training for those individuals who expect to become practicing social methodologists• To provide opportunities for social scientists to study those methodologies that have special bearing on specific substantive issues• To create an environment that facilitates an exchange of ideas related to the development of methodologies on the frontier of social research.
In Fall 2007, CSLS launched a new series of methodology seminars presenting aspects of empirical research methods by and for legal and sociolegal scholars. Each year a number of special workshops are presented (most are 3 hours in length) covering selected empirical methods, both quantitative and qualitative. The series brings in leading experts on particular methodologies, including some of our own faculty. Berkeley Law faculty & Center researchers, PhD students, CSLS affiliated faculty and CSLS visiting scholars are all invited participate. The workshops take place in the JSP Seminar Room, generally from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, followed by a catered lunch. To go to the webpage of any of the workshops in the Miniseries on Empirical Research Methods, click on the seminar title below. For each completed workshop, you will find a seminar description, the complete videotape of each 3-hour seminar; handouts; powerpoint slides; bibliographies; and other course materials. For those yet to come, you will find at least a brief course description (as materials for upcoming workshops are received they are posted to the webpage). 2007-2008 Miniseries on Empirical Research MethodsThe first seminar in the Miniseries was a Workshop in Systematic Qualitative Fieldwork led by Calvin Morrill of UC Irvine on Tuesday, September 18, 2007.The second seminar was a Workshop in Historical-Comparative Methods led by Robin Stryker of the University of Minnesota, on Tuesday, October 23, 2007.The third was an Introduction to Survey Research led by Tom Piazza of U.C. Berkeley’s Survey Research Center, on Thursday, February 21, 2008.The final seminar for 2007-2008 was The Art and Science of Interviewing, led by Kristin Luker, Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, U.C. Berkeley, on Thursday, April 10, 2008.2008-2009 Miniseries on Empirical Research MethodsThere have been two workshops thus far in 2008-2009, with one more upcoming: The first workshop was Using Atlas.ti for Qualitative Research, led by Yuki Kato of Tulane University and Danielle S. Rudes of George Mason University, on Friday, October 17, 2008 from 9:00 a.m. to noon, in the JSP Seminar Room, with an optional hands-on session in the afternoon.
The second workshop was GIS, Analytical Mapping, and Spatial Modeling: Crime, Law and Society Applications, led by Robert N. Parker of the University California, Riverside and the Presley Center for Research in Criminal Justice, on Friday, January 30, 2009.The third workshop will be How to Design Research to Evaluate Programs, led by Justin McCrary of the University California, Berkeley, on Friday, April 3, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to noon, in the JSP Seminar Room.Looking Forward to 2009-2010We are working on next year’s program, which we hope will include:How to Prepare a Grant Proposal for Empirical Research, led by Lauren Edelman of the University of California, BerkeleyDoing Story Research In Socio-Legal Studies, led by Michael Musheno of San Francisco State University and Distinguished Affiliated Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society.