Summary of Services

Founded by Howard W. Odum in 1924 for the "cooperative study of problems in the general field of social science," UNC's Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science has evolved into a center offering many diverse services to support the research and training of social science faculty and graduate students. (For more on the History of the Odum Institute, see a paper by John Shelton Reed.)

Data Archives

The Institute maintains the country's third-largest archive of computer-readable social science data. Holdings include national and international economic, electoral, demographic, financial, health, public opinion, and other types of data to meet a variety of research and teaching needs.

Grant Services

The Institute's grant services include assistance with the development and submission of research proposals and the administration of grants for social science faculty and graduate student researchers.

Survey Methodology

The Institute provides consultation in survey methodology, construction of measurement instruments, sample design, and selection of appropriate data collection methods, especially the use of personal, telephone, and mail surveys.

Statistical and Computing Services

The Institute's statistical and computing services include short courses and individual consultation in data analysis, data management, programming, and use of hardware. The Odum Institute's Open Lab in the Research Hub provides access to computing software, hardware, and expertise in data analysis.

Other Services

The Institute sponsors interdisciplinary faculty working groups; provides faculty research awards; offers short courses in data access, grants, statistical computing, survey research, and text analysis; and occasionally sponsors faculty colloquia.

From 1991 through 2000, the Institute served as the headquarters of the National Network of State Polls and published its quarterly newsletter. Between 1992 and 2000, the Institute published North Carolina Data-Net.

The oldest facility of its kind in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world, the Odum Institute has long played an important role in supporting the research of UNC's social science faculty, and also in undergraduate and especially, graduate instruction in social science methods. Some Institute services are available to researchers elsewhere, and to the general public, on a cost-recovery basis.

In 2004 Odum Institute celebrated its 80th Anniversary (Click here for more on the 80th Anniversary of the Odum Institute.)

Reviews and Evaluations

The Odum Institute and its director, Kenneth Bollen, went through a five-year review in 2005. As part of the review, Professor Bollen was asked to prepare a statement that described the accomplishments and goals of the Odum Institute.