CSR offers the following services to a wide variety of clients including academic, public-sector, nonprofit, religious, and business organizations seeking creative problem solving through social research and development. Projects pursued are subject to scheduling limitations and CSR's mission priorities. We provide services directly, but emphasize collaboration, consulting, supporting and advisory roles to help clients conduct their own research effectively.


At any given time, CSR is generally supporting or conducting several long-term projects and at least a dozen shorter-term projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are CSR's priorities for projects?

    Academic research and community service!

    As part of Calvin College, we are first and foremost an educational institution. Our top goal and chief specialization is helping our clients through collaboration to develop and advance their own social research skills, especially in large-scale qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.

    CSR's top priority is to support evidence-based decisions through innovative social-scientific research that contributes to community development. We also serve Calvin faculty, staff, and students through smaller-scale consultation and support for social-research-related aspects of scholarly and administrative projects, with a focus on empowering and educating our partners.

  • How do I request CSR's help with a project?

    Short A:  Contact us.

    We are always happy to talk with you in person and provide advice and encouragement for your work. Contact Neil Carlson and/or Laura Luchies to schedule an appointment to discuss your ideas, or call Kathy Bardolph at 616 526-7799.

    CSR cannot commit to direct participation in projects until a cost estimate and schedule are in place. This process can take time, since the planning process itself often reveals the need for revisions to the overall research concept and time line. Prospective clients are encouraged to contact CSR early in the project imagination process and let us help you think it through from the beginning. We look forward to speaking with you!

    More questions?

    Neil Carlson, PhD

    Neil Carlson, PhD

    Director: Center for Social Research
    Full profile

  • What kind of research and client projects does CSR conduct?

    CSR conducts a wide variety of research for clients throughout Kent County who seek to make evidence-based decisions. Projects include, but are not limited to: 

    Developing public dashboard metrics, maps, a data-sharing agreement, and providing meeting facilitation for The Essential Needs Task Force of Kent County

    Co-designing and administering a survey, leading focus groups, and producing a report on findings and recommendations for the Invisible Ceilings, Walls and Floors: Championing the Voices of Women of Color in West Michigan project led by Drs. Shannon Cohen and Pat VerDuin

    Facilitating workshops for program impact teams for the Greater Grand Rapids YMCA to develop mission statements, create logic models, and improve program evaluation tools and plans.

    Conducting interviews with religious leaders and entering data for the Greater Grand Rapids Survey of Congregations, funded by the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation

    Providing research consulting and survey services to the Plaster Creek Stewards environmental effort led by Calvin's Dr. Gail Heffner and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.


Research Design and Project Management

  • Planning and meeting participation and facilitation: We'll help you focus on what you really want to know and how to get there
  • Expertise in a wide variety of social-scientific methods
  • Data management and logistical planning
  • Project scheduling and cost estimation working with your budget
  • Proposal writing

Survey Research

  • Online surveys with Qualtrics
  • Hybrid paper mail-and online surveys
  • Face-to-face interviews

Qualitative Research Support

  • Transcription of interviews
  • Listening sessions and focus groups
  • NVivo content-analysis software available

Project Logistical Support

  • Mailing and mail receiving
  • Supply ordering
  • Filing and organization
  • Email and phone outreach to project partners

Data Preparation and Analysis

  • Database design
  • Custom database-driven web applications with PHP/MySQL, QuickBase and other platforms
  • Statistical modeling, including advanced models with SPSS, Stata and other packages
  • GIS data mapping and analysis with ArcGIS, Google Earth, GeoDA and others


  • Report writing and support
  • Interactive data visualizations with Tableau software
  • Charts and graphics
  • Public speaking and meeting leadership

Project Accounting

  • Support for faculty projects
  • Estimation and invoicing
  • Grant writing
  • Time tracking

Request Services

CSR provides free initial consultation on prospective projects.
Feel free to contact us:

By phone: (616) 526-7799
By email: csr@calvin.edu
By mail: Center for Social Research, 3201 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546