CSR offers the following services to on- and off-campus clients, subject to scheduling limitations and CSR's mission priorities. We provide services directly, but emphasize 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 develop and advance their own social research skills, especially in large-scale quantitative data collection and analysis. While CSR's internal capacity to conduct research directly is growing, we'll always be most interested in active collaboration with our clients at Calvin and elsewhere. We benefit Calvin College and the community most by identifying, learning, and disseminating new modes of research and new logistical tools.

    CSR's top priority is to maintain a high level of service to long-term, significant social research projects, particularly those led by Calvin faculty with an academic publishing agenda. A high but secondary priority is providing research, evaluation, and technical services to organizations in the broader West Michigan community, including non-profits, businesses, governments, churches, and other faith-based organizations. For both of these priorities, we seek to maximize our availability to help apply for grants and contracts to sustain such projects. Finally, we 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.

  • Does CSR approve research with human subjects?

    Short A:  No, Calvin's Institutional Review Board does this.

    Calvin College's Institutional Review Board is responsible for reviewing research projects for adherence to legal and ethical standards of protection for human research subjects. For advice and support, please do contact us. However, all official IRB-related correspondence should be directed to the current chair of the IRB, not the Center for Social Research. Please visit the IRB web site for more information.

  • 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.

    More questions?

    Neil Carlson, PhD

    Neil Carlson, PhD

    Director: Center for Social Research
    Full profile


Research Design and Project Management

  • Planning and meeting participation: 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 with Microsoft Project and QuickBase
  • Proposal writing

Survey Research

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

Qualitative Research Support

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

Project Logistical Support

  • Mailing and mail receiving
  • Supply ordering
  • Filing and organization

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
  • Charts and graphics
  • Public Speaking and Meeting Leadership

Project Accounting

  • Support for Faculty Projects
  • Estimation and Invoicing
  • 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