Located on UAlbany's Downtown Campus, Data Management and Analytics Center (DMAC) aims to strengthen research on campus by assisting scholars with accessing, managing and analyzing data. Contact DMAC.
Our services include assistance with developing research designs and data management plans, offering analytic expertise, and conferring on survey development and dissemination. DMAC offers research support to the UAlbany community through consulting, informational resources (workshops, training, instructional materials), and funded research partnerships.
As part of DMAC, the Survey Research Center (SRC) has expertise in all aspects of survey work: establishing survey objectives, identifying the study population and key concepts in operational terms, selecting methods of sampling, instrument design and testing, data collection, and analysis.
DMAC grew from the work of the Center for Human Services Research (CHSR), which was established in 1991 to conduct evaluation research and design information systems to inform policymakers and service providers.
CHSR is currently a University-wide research center under the Office of the Vice President for Research, and supports an interdisciplinary team of over 35 staff, faculty and graduate students with sophisticated research, technical and management skills.
Project areas include children and family services, children's mental health, economic and community development, education and early childhood development, health behavior and services, and youth development and juvenile justice.
In 2019, CHSR researchers noted a need among University faculty, staff and graduate students for technical assistance and data management support, which fell outside the CHSR core mission of human services evaluation. Interviews with faculty and staff highlighted particular areas of demand for data services.
In collaboration with University ITS and the University Libraries, CHSR launched DMAC as a University-wide resource.
DMAC supports UAlbany researchers, faculty and students with a spectrum of resources for working with data to make your research successful.
Our mission is to build data capacity in the UAlbany community by providing technical assistance and resources to faculty, staff, and student researchers at various stages of the research data lifecycle.
The Survey Research Center (SRC) is a state-of-the-art survey organization that works with researchers at UAlbany and elsewhere to fulfill a broad range of data collection needs.
The SRC provides survey services using Qualtrics, a tool for creating and analyzing web-based surveys for research, teaching, and administrative needs.
Disseminate resources on data management and analytics to the UAlbany research community
Increase applications and funded projects
Enhance the capacity of UAlbany faculty and researchers to conduct rigorous studies
Introduce new courses and workshops
Impact more users in more disciplines
Maintain new website with more dynamic content
Build and coordinate a broader community of UAlbany data users
I have a project that I think DMAC could help me with. What is the process for this?
The best way to see how we can assist you is by reaching out to schedule a preliminary meeting to explain your research and data needs. We can discuss what support we are able to offer; if we aren’t able to meet your needs, we will try to connect you with someone at the University who can. If this project will be a funded research partnership, we will put together a preliminary scope of work and budget estimate for your review.
Do you charge for your services? How do you determine what you charge?
DMAC provides limited technical assistance and support as part of our core services supported through the University. Please see the Our Services section below to learn about which services and limitations apply.
For more involved assistance, we can partner with your research team on funded projects. This would typically involves including our services in your grant proposal. (We will assist with the proposal process on projects in which we are included as funded partners.)
We price our services to the specifics of each individual project, depending upon the mix of staff and the amount of staff time estimated to best suit the needs of that project. Please see the Our Services section below to learn more about which services we can offer in partnership with your research team.
What is the relationship between DMAC and CHSR?
The Center for Human Services Research (CHSR) has provided evaluation support to human services programs since 1991. CHSR projects are focused on supporting human services providers in practice, often in the form of program evaluation, performance indicators, and continuous quality measurement.
Much of the expertise developed and honed by CHSR over many years of experience has applications to projects beyond the field of human services delivery. In 2019, we determined that there was significant demand for the types of skills and expertise that CHSR has developed from researchers in departments throughout the University, particularly in regard to the collection, management, and analysis of research data. DMAC was created to fill this need.
DMAC is able to draw on the skills and knowledge of CHSR researchers to provide technical assistance and support to the broader UAlbany community on a wide variety of research projects that use quantitative or qualitative data and methods across a variety of disciplines.
What are the backgrounds of DMAC staff?
DMAC has a primary core of staff, including a senior research scientist, a data scientist, and a certified Qualtrics research expert.
Additionally, DMAC can also draw from the larger pool of CHSR staff, who have years of experience in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and backgrounds in fields as diverse as sociology, psychology, neuroscience, political science, economics, social work, community health, demography, epidemiology, and criminal justice.
DMAC also has access to the CHSR IT staff, who design customized computer information solutions for research and evaluation data.
Can DMAC partner with entities outside the University?
DMAC does not provide any of our core services at no charge to researchers outside the UAlbany community. As part of CHSR, we can, however, enter into funded research partnerships with organizations external to the University. In this case, the typical Research Foundation indirect rate will be charged in addition to the direct costs associated with our services.
What statistical software packages are your staff conversant in?
Our staff typically use SPSS, but we do have staff who use SAS or R to varying degrees.
We also have a certified Qualtrics research expert on staff who can offer support in the use of Qualtrics for survey data collection.
Can DMAC provide me with tutoring/coursework help?
DMAC does not provide tutoring or help with coursework.
Can you help me with statistical programming?
DMAC will not write programs for your project (except as part of a funded research partnership where this is included our scope of work), but we may be able to assist with you trouble-shooting your code and making recommendations. We have staff with expertise in SPSS and SAS, and some familiarity with R.
We can also provide guidance in accessing databases using MS Access, SQL, or Python.
Can you help me write an IRB protocol?
DMAC staff are available for consultation on issues related to human subjects’ protections, including protecting participant confidentiality during data collection, writing effective informed consent documents, de-identifying data, and storing protected data
Can you help me recruit research participants?
DMAC staff are experienced at identifying and recruiting research participants. We may be able to offer advice and suggest strategies for effective participant recruitment. As part of a funded research partnership, we can manage and coordinate participant outreach and recruitment for you.
DMAC provides customized data management support at UAlbany.
DMAC is staffed by a dedicated Computer Specialist and Data Scientist within the Center for Human Services Research (CHSR). CHSR employs a team of IT experts and researchers across many disciplines including sociology, public health, neuroscience, psychology, criminal justice and education.
DMAC services that will be provided free of charge include:
The role of DMAC is to facilitate your research. We can assist you with issues that you may encounter with respect to data collection, preparation (importing, merging, and cleaning data), analysis (implementing statistical tests), and results (understanding the formatting of the output).
We provide short-term support (up to 3 hours per project) in the form of advice in the following areas:
Research project planning: study design and tools
Research data processing / cleaning
Selection and interpretation of statistical methods
Research data visualization
The role of the Survey Research Center is to facilitate the technical aspects of your survey design and research needs. We can assist you with issues that you may encounter with respect to the practicalities of digital survey design (survey logics, survey flow, distributions, capturing and using embedded data, etc.)
Types of assistance not covered by our service:
Tutoring and general inquiries about methodology and survey topics
Assistance with projects of commercial nature or those involving classified information, non-disclosure agreements, related to or likely to be involved in litigation, etc.
Note: Our role in consulting support is to assist you with your research, rather than to conduct your research for you. If you would like to contract with us to take a deeper role in your funded research project, please read about our Research Partnerships.
Specifically, we can provide help with:
Work with the documentation and codebooks to explain how the data is organized;
Copy files from one computer system or storage medium to another;
Extract subsets from large files;
Convert data among the standard formats used when working with data.
Designing experiments and surveys
Working with Data
Give pointers to appropriate techniques using examples, and a library of sample programs;
Explain program language syntax;
Advise on data manipulation techniques related to supported software & tools;
Provide assistance in understanding and solving coding errors.
Statistical support for research and grant proposals
Selecting the most appropriate statistical analyses and their implementation
Interpreting analyses and summarizing findings
Reviewing method sections for manuscripts
Understanding methods used in published research
Preparing for presentations, committee meetings, and conferences
To aid us in tracking the impact of our consulting service, we ask that you include a short acknowledgement in your publications and/or talks. You may wish to amend the following text to reflect the type of support you received.
“Data and/or statistical support was provided by data science specialist (consultant names), at the Data Management and Analytics Center, University at Albany."
We can provide extended support over the lifecycle of a research project through a funded research partnership. As a part of your research team we can help with the following:
Data manipulation, organization and cleaning
Basic statistical analysis
Analysis of survey data
Model estimation and post-estimation
Creating graphs and data visualization of raw data and model output
Complex statistical analysis and modeling
Writing reproducible syntax/command files
Producing reports with detailed interpretation
Writing methods and results sections of papers
Responding to peer-reviews of our analyses
Providing comprehensive, long-term follow-up
In return for this extended support, we ask for two things:
Authorship: The data science specialist who performs the work will receive author / developer credit on all resulting research / software output (e.g., publications, talks, posters, documents, software packages).
Compensation: The ability for DMAC/SRC to partner on longer-term projects is based on staff availability and project scope and funding. Needs, availability, and costs of this service are discussed on a project-by-project basis.
We evaluate and select projects for collaboration on a case-by-case basis, based on our available time, our expertise in the area, the feasibility of the project being completed in a reasonable time frame, and our interest in the project.
Note: We cannot collaborate on research projects where the primary output is a sole-authored dissertation / thesis.
Since 2019 DMAC has been an affiliate of the New York State Data Center (NYSDC) for the U.S. Census Bureau.
The State Data Center (SDC) Program is one of the Census Bureau's longest and most successful partnerships, created to make data available locally to the public through a network of state agencies, universities, libraries, and regional and local governments.
The SDC operates through a network of affiliate organizations throughout the State, with a mission to empower data users with understandable, accurate and timely information. SDC affiliates maintain Census and related economic and demographic data and provide information to local governments, businesses, and the public.
As an affiliate of the New York State Data Center, DMAC provides:
Assistance to researchers at UAlbany and beyond in locating and understanding Census Bureau and related data and information.
Information services in answering Census Bureau data requests, including requests related to access and use of Census Bureau data and requests related to Census Bureau and Program products
Training and education for the academic and local communities on accessing and using Census Bureau information and related data and reference sources, including offering workshops.
In addition to regularly offered workshops open to the University community, we can schedule workshops for your groups on request.
Here are some examples of workshop topics that DMAC and SRC staff can offer:
Best practices in survey design and methodology
Best practices in data visualization
Overview of metadata and what it means for researchers
Using the new Census data retrieval tool
Census resources at UAlbany
Other data-related topics as requested
Data Interpretation and Dissemination
Software Support Resources
In addition to these free services, we can also provide analytic support using a fee-for-service model.
We will collaborate with students, faculty, and other research centers and consortiums in pursuing funding opportunities that include our services. In that capacity we can assist with proposal planning and management, with conceptualizing and building competitive budgets, editing proposal drafts and assisting with submissions.
For more information about our services, please contact DMAC.