SSDS Services

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Working with the SSDS Staff

The role of the Data Services Librarian and Technical Consultant is to help find answers, suggest solutions, and guide you to relevant data resources as quickly as possible for your course work or research.

Tips for preparing for the initial consultation:

  • Identify the variables you want to look at and any other factors you feel are important to your research design.
  • Often it helps to send an email with your request so we can do some initial review of possible options.
  • Sometimes it is useful to make an appointment to come in and discuss ideas and options with the Data Services Librarian as you clarify your thoughts about your research.
  • It is important to keep in mind that although the SSDS staff are knowledgeable about research methods, many of the choices you will be making with regard to your own research are matters of opinion. If you are a student, it is important that you work closely with your advisor or your research committee.

Inquiries and Research Consultation Appointments

It is our policy to respond to inquiries as soon as possible, preferably within two working days. In rare instances, a response may be delayed due to the volume or complexity of inquiries. Questions from outside the Northwestern community will be answered at the discretion of the librarian or consultant.

Appointments can be made online, by email, or by phone, and will be scheduled within the week if possible. Consultations hours are usually 8:30am-5:00 pm Monday through Friday.


The SSDS librarian is available to teach classes about social science data resources and practices including information seeking strategies. Instructional sessions are tailored to the data needs and interests of the particular class. Faculty members whose courses include a data analysis component are encouraged to contact SSDS.


For assistance email: