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SSRI Projects

SSRI Projects

Step into The Connection and you will find groups huddled together in team rooms, students chatting over coffee and informal meetings being held in the common area of the second floor of Gross Hall. We develop core SSRI projects around methods and data, and we help various research teams with their projects by offering assistance with data support, consulting, workshops, team space and more. Many of the latter are part of Bass Connections, and you can view those separately. In addition, below are some more projects happening at SSRI.

In collaboration with Linda Burton’s research group, SSRI is launching a new initiative aimed at expanding support for social science research using ethnographic and mixed methods – and integrating such methods into cross-disciplinary research that also employs other methods. This initiative is a complement to SSRI’s already existing initiative on survey methods (Duke Initiative on Survey Methods), its center on network methods (Duke Network Analysis Center), its collaboration on big data with the Initiative in Information at Duke (iiD) and SSRI’s data core.

Cross-disciplinary collaborations are most successful when individuals bring disciplinary and methodological expertise to teams where such expertise is leveraged to achieve the larger aims of the team. While it is neither necessary nor desirable for each team member to know each of the methods employed in the team, it is essential that team members can communicate about the results that emerge from different methods. To this end, SSRI-West is beginning to explore building a modular education infrastructure – combining on-line content with “flipped classroom” workshops – to teach social science methods in ways that enable non-experts to communicate with experts in interdisciplinary teams.

This project examines federal government agencies’ ability to recruit high quality individual talent, to develop their employees’ expertise within those agencies, and to retain the best and brightest in government service. This is an important and complicated challenge; public agencies must cope with episodic turnover of political appointees, limited ability to adjust worker compensation in response to outside market pressures, difficulty in performance measurement due to the nature of governmental tasks, and constraints on frictionless alterations to the government workforce because of employment terms for civil servants.  

Education and the Changing Brain Longitudinal study of 602 African Americans 50 years of age and older includes information on cognition, health, and psychosocial factors like depression and social support.

EPA Energy Star The goal of the EPI is to provide companies within a manufacturing sector with an objective measure of how their plant compares to the rest of the industry by using statistical analysis of confidential plant level energy use and factors of production. EPA had observed that most companies lack sufficient information on the relative efficiency of their plants.

Automobile Assembly Plants Using confidential data provided to Duke from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan this project is estimating the statistical distributions of energy efficiency of the internal operations of U.S. auto assembly plants. This "extended" benchmarking expands on prior work done for the EPA Energy Star program at the whole plant level to sub-plant level operations of body welding, painting and general assembly.

Food not only permeates our everyday decision-making, but is at the heart of many of our most pressing economic and social challenges. The study of Food spans all of Duke’s departments, with scholars from business, law, policy, environment, history, arts, culture, public health, medicine and others trying to generate knowledge in service of society. To date, no comprehensive effort has been made to connect this “multi”-discipline effort on a topic that so clearly necessitates interdisciplinary action. SSRI is thus an ideal institutional home for cultivating research dialogues on a topic as all-encompassing as Food.

Working at the intersection of open source and education innovation, OSPRI seeks to develop a robust curricular, co-curricular, pedagogical, and professional innovation ecosystem applying open source methodologies and principles to modes of teaching and learning, communicating, and creating within and beyond educational institutions.


Durham, NC 27708 | 919.681.6019


Gross Hall, 2nd Floor
140 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708


Erwin Mill Building
2024 W. Main St.
Durham, NC 27705

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