The Population Research Institute's (PRI) Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) Core provides research support services at all stages of the funded research cycle to faculty associates, postdoctoral trainees, predoctoral trainees, research assistants, and students in the dual-degree program in demography. Researchers are able to select from a wide variety of services that suit their specific needs ranging from utilizing only a single service to having a core member on the project team for the entire duration of the project. Researchers can draw upon the extensive depth and breadth of the CSA Core's talents and experiences to:

  • design and implement data collection instruments;
  • acquire and disseminate data;
  • clean and construct complex data files using primary and secondary data;
  • provide statistical and spatial analyses; and
  • manage, document, and archive project files.

Contact the CSA Core at to discuss your needs and to learn how we can support your project.

GIS and Spatial Analysis

The CSA Core can help you to incorporate geographic information into your research in creative and cutting-edge ways. The CSA Core staff specializes in spatial statistics, advanced spatial analysis, exploratory spatial data analysis, spatial econometrics, and customized programming for geographic information systems (GIS). The CSA Core also provides an online interactive WebGIS and will support innovative research using mobile technology in the collection of spatial and social media data.

Learn more about how the CSA Core can help you with your GIS and Spatial Analysis.

Complex multi-scalar data

The CSA core provides guidance to researchers working to integrate and analyze large spatial, historical, individual, and contextual datasets and the use of "Big Data". Staff are also experts in social networks and complex systems analysis as well as geo-tagged social media data collection and analysis

Data Management

The CSA Core can help you with your data management needs from pre-proposal planning through dissemination and archiving. The CSA Core staff has extensive experience:

  • working with a variety of publicly-available datasets;
  • developing primary data collection systems;
  • working with highly-sensitive, restricted data; and
  • managing restricted data contracts and usage agreements.

Programming and Statistical Support

The Population Research Institute's (PRI) Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) Core provides research support services at all stages of the funded research cycle including programming and statistical support essential to conducting and advancing demographic research. For areas that fall outside the Core's capacity, we can refer you to experts from among our professional network.

The Core staff is experienced in a wide array of analytical methods and the use of many complex datasets for population studies. All staff members complete the University Institutional Review Board (IRB) training and follow the American Statistical Association's Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice. Contact the CSA Core at to discuss your needs and to learn how we can support your project.

Statistical Consultation

The CSA Core's faculty director works with the staff to provide expert consultation on the selection and implementation of statistical methods, drawing on existing faculty expertise within the PRI to offer consulting on statistical problems that arise during grant proposal preparation or over the course of funded research. The CSA Core also keeps PRI faculty and students abreast of major developments in the statistical analysis of population data, enabling them to use the most powerful research designs and statistical methods appropriate for demographic research.

Custom Programming

The CSA Core staff includes experienced, professional programmers with expertise in a variety of technologies, programming environments, and statistical methods. Our programmers can assist you with all phases of your project from preliminary analysis to support your proposal through processing your data and implementing your analysis. We can also provide post-project support for disseminating your research results and sharing your data.

Programmers may be contracted on a short-term basis to assist with research tasks or on a long-term, multi-year basis to staff your research team. Contact the CSA Core at to learn more about our custom statistical programming support and to discuss your needs.

Data Access

Restricted Data Sources

Some datasets require authorization for access or elevated levels of security because of the sensitive nature of the questions asked, the ages of the participants, personally identifiable information (PII) available among the data, or other conditions specified in the data usage agreement. The CSA Core programmers have experience working with such highly-sensitive, restricted-use data sets and are familiar with methods for limiting the risk of deductive disclosure. The CSA Core staff can assist PRI affiliates with Institutional Review Board (IRB) application and the contracting process. The data compliance specialist can also serve as the "data contract administrator" throughout a project to support compliance with the terms of your data usage agreement. Contact Lisa Broniszewski (

Federal Statistical Research Data Center

The Federal Statistical Research Data Center (RDC) at Penn State, which opened in Spring 2014 with support from PRI, is a valuable asset for population researchers. The CSA Core can provide support for preliminary analyses and assistance for applications to the RDC.

The Administrative Data Accelerator

Researchers interested in working with administrative data can access the Penn State Administrative Data Accelerator