Workshop Descriptions

Below are descriptions of workshops offered by the Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) with links to supporting materials. Access our workshop schedule and registration.

Request a workshop based on the descriptions below. A two-week lead time is needed for planning and scheduling, and depends on staff availability.

For Data or Software Carpentries workshops, up to a two month lead time may be required, depending on the disciplinary focus of the workshop.

Data Analysis: General, Quant, QualGeographical Information Systems (GIS) & Data Visualization |
Research Data Management  | Data Sources

Data Analysis


Excel for Tracking and Data Management — Slides
Discover the tools for effectively and efficiently working with administrative data in Excel. Learn how to create Pivot Tables, merge datasets, clean data, and avoid problems. Attendees should already be comfortable in Excel; familiarity with functions is strongly recommended.

Introduction to Data Cleaning Using OpenRefine
An important step before beginning data analysis is cleaning and setting up your data.  This introductory workshop will cover how to import, convert, clean, arrange and set up data files.  Learn how OpenRefine can be used to clean your data for later use with analysis software (like SPSS or Stata) and ArcGIS.

Summarizing and Displaying Data in Excel  
Discover the tools for effectively and efficiently working with data in Excel. Learn how to create Pivot Tables and apply conditional formatting. Best practices and rules for data visualization will be emphasized. Attendees should already be comfortable in Excel; familiarity with functions is useful but not required.

Surviving a Data Analysis Project — Slides

Based on multiple semesters of actual student questions, this workshop will give information and tips on finding and selecting appropriate datasets, understanding data files, identifying problem data, and preparing it for statistical analysis. Workshop content is based on social science research projects, but students from other disciplines are welcome to attend.

Quantitative Software

R — Guide

  • Gentle Introduction to R — Slides
    Learn what R can do for you and why everybody is talking about it. Get some hands on experience, and tips for increasing your comfort. Intended for those who have little to no programming experience.
  • Getting Acquainted with R — Slides
    This workshop is for those familiar with other statistical software to learn the fundamentals of using R with datasets. Topics include: Using R and RStudio, Building blocks of the R language, R syntax, including functions, objects, vectors, and dataframes, Opening and examining datasets, Working with variables and values, and Packages and enhanced user interfaces.
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED basic statistics knowledge (undergrad-level)
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED experience working with datasets using other statistical software (e.g., SPSS, Stata, SAS, MatLab, advanced Excel…)
    Familiarity with syntax, code, or other programming is recommended

SAS  — Guide

  • Introduction to SAS — Slides
    Learn the interface and basic structure of SAS syntax while inputting and displaying data. No prior experience with SAS or programming is necessary.

SPSS — Guide

  • SPSS I — Slides
    Become familiar with the ins-and-outs of SPSS by exploring a dataset. Review the interface (including the status bar), computing and recoding variables, and simple tables. Discover features and options that are helpful but often overlooked. Intended for people who have never used SPSS before as well as those who have. Participants expected to have basic knowledge of data and datafiles.
  • SPSS II — Slides
    Learn how to make the output window can help keep your data and results organized. Other topics include: importing text files, creating charts, visual binning, and dealing with dates. Participants are encouraged to take SPSS I first.
  • SPSS with Syntax — Slides
    If you will use SPSS for a thesis or dissertation, it is highly recommend that you be familiar with SPSS Syntax. This workshop will cover the basics of reading and saving syntax. Plus, discover how using Syntax can help you save time, reduce errors, and stay organized. Participants should be familiar with SPSS.

Stata – Guide

  • Surviving Stata / Intro to Stata — Slides
    Learn the ins-and-outs of Stata’s interface, syntax, and help documentation. This workshop will help new users feel comfortable with Stata (using Syntax), give tips and advice to existing users, and give all attendees the tools to find out more.
  • Stata for Theses — Slides
    This workshop gives an overview of advanced and useful features of Stat, including:
– how to open data files from different sources
– commands to clean and process data
– do file organization and use
– user-written functions and ado files
– prefix commands (e.g., by and svy)

Qualitative Software

Introduction to Qualitative Analysis and Computing
Gain a better understanding of qualitative analysis and terminology, and review how qualitative research is done. Plus, learn about the variety of software available to help.

Introduction to NVivo 
Find out why an increasing number of people are asking about NVivo and how it could help you and other researchers in a variety of disciplines. In this hands-on workshop, become familiar with the interface and some of the key features.

Intermediate NVivo
Intended for individuals with an understanding of NVivo’s “code-and-retrieve” functions this workshop focuses on more of the theory-building features of NVivo.  In this hands-on-workshop participants will learn to run reports, queries, and to create visual representations of qualitative data.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) & Data Visualization

Introductory GIS Workshops

  • Introduction to GIS and ArcGIS Software
    This session will focus on the fundamental concepts of GIS and skills needed to begin using ArcGIS software to create a thematic map.  Topics will include: What is GIS? Common spatial data formats ; projections and coordinate system;  ArcGIS user interface and basic analysis functions including joining tables to create a thematic map.
  • ArcGIS Online Basics
    This session will cover the basics of creating a web map and mapping application.   Topics will include how to add data from various sources, basic analysis functions, publish and share your web maps and applications.
  • ArcGIS Online Part II: Creating Story Maps — Handout
    Using ArcGIS Online, the session will cover how to combine text, images and videos into a story map that you use geography as a means of organizing these information online.   Check out some examples in the Story Map Gallery.
  • Introduction to QGIS — Handout
    This session will cover basic platform of QGIS (plug-in functions and connect to cloud source data), spatial analysis functions of QGIS using vector and raster data.

Intermediate GIS Workshops

  • Intermediate GIS Using Spatial Analysis Tools —Data and Handout
    This session builds upon the skills obtained in the Introduction to GIS and ArcGIS.  Topics will include: Geocoding of addresses data, common spatial analysis tools such as clip, buffer, intersect, dissolve, and spatial join, etc.
  • Twitter Data Visualization with CARTO
    This session will cover how to collect geo-tagged twitter data using CARTO (online web mapping tool) and visualize the data with basic analysis tools offered by CARTO Builder.  Users need to activate your Google account by contacting CARTO ( before the workshop.

Advanced GIS Workshops

  • Data Analysis and Geocoding with Python Slides
    This workshop covers how to do basic data analysis using Pandas and NumPy in Python. It includes how to read various data files (csv, Json, XLS, etc), create Pandas data frame, extract certain variables based on criteria, and get descriptive statistics. Exercise will also include geocoding, calculating a distance between two geospatial points and visualizing geospatial data.
  • Getting Started with Twitter Data Collection Handout
    The aim of this tutorial is to collect data from twitter with “GeoTagged” information by a keyword(s) and by a geographic area and visualize them using ArcGIS in CSV format.
  • Python Basics — Slides
    This session will cover basic information about getting started with Python Programming.  Topics will include basic syntax, operators and data type (string, numbers, lists), variables, loop (if, for, while, break, continue, else clauses), etc.
  • Python for ArcPy
    This workshop first covers the essentials of the Python scripting language necessary to work inside ESRI’s ArcGIS for Desktop environment. The arcpy is a Python package developed by ESRI for programmers mainly to automate everyday’s GIS tasks. Using arcpy through ArcMap and Python IDLE will be explained in this workshop along with coding examples using different geoprocessing and geospatial analysis tools.
  • Web Scraping with Python Beautiful Soup — Slides
    This session covers topics:  What is Web scraping?  Why do we need it? How to parse a web page to extract data, how to save parsed data in CSV format; terms of services and legal issues involved in website scraping, and more. Focus will be on scraping geographic data.

Data Visualization

  • Getting Up & Running with Tableau Slides
    Short introduction to getting started with using Tableau and what your options are for access at George Mason.
  • Introduction to Tableau
    Tableau is data visualization software (aka Business Intelligence, Analytics). It enables fast creation of static or interactive dashboards, including charts and maps. This sessions is a introduction to Tableau’s basic features and is designed for beginners.

Research Data Management

DMPTool Information Session — Guide
Information session on getting started with and using the DMPTool. Learn how the DMPTool can help guide you through writing a data management plan for your funding proposal. Learn what George Mason University support is available to you for managing and sharing your data.

Research Data Management Basics — Guide
Working on a research project but not sure how to begin to organize and manage your data?  This introductory workshop is an overview of research data management basics, including data formats, best practices for organizing, storing and backing up your files, and documenting your research data (metadata, readme files, codebooks, etc.).  This workshop is designed to be a quick overview of major data management topics.

Data Sources

DiSC offers workshops for locating and using data and statistics from a variety of disciplines and sources. Below is a selection of workshops we’ve offered in the past. Please contact us at for more information.

Political and Social Research Data (ICPSR)
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research is a large political and social data archive. Learn how to locate what studies are available and download and import datasets into Stata, SPSS, etc.

Statistical Resources: Finding and Getting Data
This session will provide participants with an overview of the University Libraries’ online statistical and data resources with an emphasis on demographics and major domestic and international sources. Learn how to run time series data, create charts and graphs, and download data sets.

Using Population and Demographic Data
A review of tools available for accessing, using and analyzing Census and American Community Survey Data and other population data sources.  Basic Census concepts will be covered too.