The Practice of Social Science Research Workshop provides students with supplemental professional skills development for students to use in and outside of the academy. Workshops include talks from UChicago faculty about their early-stage research projects, hands-on projects in academic writing, research, and research programs, and field visits to view research in practice within the Chicago area.

Workshops are open to all participants of the Summer Institute. Workshops are mandatory for students who are participating in the SISRM RA program.

All SISRM Workshops will take place online in Summer 2020.
12:00PM-1:30PM CDT

Week 1
June 22-26

An Introduction to the Practice of Social Scientific Research

Monday, June 22
Faculty Chalk Talk
How to Love Research and Be Productive

 Elisabeth Kempf, Assistant Professor of Finance, UChicago Booth School of Business

Tuesday, June 23
Starting Your Research: Best Practices for Finding and Using Library Resources
Rebecca Starkey, Head of Research and Instruction Services, University of Chicago Library

Learn how to search through proprietary resources, including databases, e-journals, and primary sources/archival material. Overview on making library requests or scheduling consultations for research projects. 

Wednesday, June 24
The Library in the Digital Environment
Stacie Williams,
Director, Center for Digital Scholarship, University of Chicago Library

When most universities moved to online learning in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, students and faculty were forced into using only digital libraries or materials for research. This session will talk about some of the opportunities and challenges of using digital tools and methodologies whether virtually or in-person. Come with questions on using digital collections, organizing, preserving and sharing those materials. Attendees will learn more about copyright, open access, and metadata and discovery that is key to finding and sharing digital research, and also see examples on ways that researchers use different digital tools and methodologies to explore social science research. 

Thursday, June 25
The Digital Archive
Catherine Uecker,
Head of Research and Instruction, UChicago Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
This session will provide a general overview of how archival collections are arranged, described, and the different types of associated metadata.  Digital collections from the University of Chicago Library Special Collections Research Center will be highlighted.  Learn about other Chicago area and national resources and search interfaces for finding digital archival collections.

Friday, June 26
Wholeness Is No Trifling Matter: Documenting Black Women’s Lives and Experiences Through Research in the Spelman Archives
Holly Smith, College Archivist, Spelman College

Week 2

June 29-July 3

Monday, June 29
Faculty Chalk Talk
What is the Global South?

Mark Bradley, Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distringuished Service Professor of International History and the College; Deptuy Dean of the SSD; Faculty Director Pozen Family Center for Human Rights

Tuesday, June 30: Introduction to R
Brooke Luetgert, University of Chicago Research Computing Center

As a language written for statistical analysis, the computational power of R is unquestionable. The flexibility of R comes with a steeper learning curve, but RStudio makes data analysis both convenient and transparent. The easy user interface and popular packages such as ggplot2 allow for the rapid production of beautiful graphics and quickly modifiable, publication quality plots and tables. Numerous packages and a supportive user community enhance the applicability of R to include textual analysis, network analysis, Bayesian statistics and so much more.

Wednesday, July 1: Introduction to Python
Brooke Luetgert, University of Chicago Research Computing Center

Python is a widely-used, general purpose scripting language with extensive data science libraries. Because of Python’s wide application base, it may be the better choice for those interested in machine learning and data analysis tasks that need to be integrated with web applications. In this introduction, you will learn Python fundamentals such as reading and manipulating csv files, as well as how to handle data structures such as lists and Pandas Data Frames. You will learn about creating Python functions and customizing your own plots based on real data.

Thursday, July 2: No Workshop

Friday, July 3: No Workshop

Week 3
July 6-10

Monday, July 6: No Workshop

Tuesday, July 7
Faculty Chalk Talk
Who Fights and Dies in War?

Paul Poast, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science; Faculty Director, Summer Institute in Social Research Methods

Wednesday, July 8
Managing Research Conversations

Amit Anshumali, Earl S. Johnson Instructor, Department of Sociology

Thursday, July 9
The Fundamentals of Project Management

Stacie Williams, Director, Center for Digital Scholarship, University of Chicago Library

This workshop will introduce project management approaches and tools, with the aim of supporting participants who are planning and implementing a project that used either digital objects or digital platforms. We will discuss crafting a project charter and timeline, effective applications of the Socio-Technical Sustainability Roadmap for digital scholarship project management.

Friday, July 10
Post-Baccalaureate Research Opportunities with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Stephen Lamb, Associate Director, Faculty Research and Support, Chicago Booth School of Business
Michelle Skinner,
Assistant Director, Faculty Research and Support, Chicago Booth School of Business
Amity James,
Senior Associate Director, PhD Program, Chicago Booth School of Business
Min Byung Chae,
Research Professional, Rebecca DIzon-Ross and Manasi Deshpande research team; University of Chicago Booth School of Business
James Ross,
Research Professional, Sendhil Mullainathan research team; University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Week 4

July 13-17


Monday, July 13
No workshop

Tuesday, July 14
Human Subjects Research: Introduction to the IRB

Cheri Pettey, Director, Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board

This session will explain how to determine whether a project constitutes human subjects research requiring review, explore the history of the applicable regulations, define the basic review requirements, and explore how the applicable ethical issues can extend beyond typical academic research. This session will also explore the training courses available to those affiliated with UChicago such as CITI Human Subjects Research Training, Responsible Conduct of Research, Good Clinical Practices, and other IRB-related training resources. Goals: understand the various review types and determinations (exempt, expedited, and full IRB review); understand the basic submission processes and timelines; define key terms; and identify available training and resources.

Wednesday, July 15
Public vs. Private: Ethical Considerations and IRB Review Requirements
Cheri Pettey, Director, Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board

Determining whether a behavior or activity is considered “public” or “private”—whether online or in-person—poses ethical and operational dilemmas for IRBs and researchers. Expectations around the right to privacy and perceptions of public spaces or behaviors may differ among individuals and cultures. This session will explore what factors help determine whether something is public or private, the applicable ethical issues, and the related review requirements using examples and case studies. Goals: explore the ethical issues surrounding these questions as well as related IRB determinations, considerations, informed consent requirements, HRPP policies, and more.


Thursday, July 16
Transferring Your Skills – Thinking Expansively About Your Future
Hemali Bhandiwad, Deputy Director, Career Advancement; Program Director, Careers in Behavioral Sciences

Understand and practice how to talk about your experiences and translate your skills to a variety of roles you could be interested in outside of the social sciences or research

Friday, July 17
Designing the Museum Experience
Michael Neault, Executive Creative Director, Experience Design, Art Institute of Chicago
Nikhil Trivedi, Director of Web Engineering, Art Institute of Chicago
Kirsten Southwell, Creative Director, Art Institute of Chicago

Week 5
July 20-24

Monday, July 20
Faculty Chalk Talk
Kimberly Kay Hoang, Associate Professor, Sociology; Director of Global Studies

Tuesday, July 21
Writing Effective Abstracts

Nichole Fazio, Executive Director, College Center for Research and Fellowships; Associate Dean of Students

Wednesday, July 22
Managing Sticky Situations: Mini-Case Studies for RAs
Amit Anshumali, Earl S. Johnson Instructor, Department of Sociology

Thursday, July 23
Presentation Design
Tracy Nyerges, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research, College Center for Research and Fellowships

Week 5+

Monday, July 27
Faculty Chalk Talk
Wilma Bainbridge, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Questions? Please contact Jamie Gentry (

The SISRM research assistantship offered me new skills to work with—it was really a fun experience for me. I learned a bunch of new things I can use later in my career.

Cyrus C.