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Institute of State and Regional Affairs

ISRA Services

Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC):

The Pennsylvania State Data Center is the commonwealth’s official source of population and economic statistics.  In addition to providing assistance with Census data, the PaSDC provides a variety of other services including:

Digital dashboard development – Dashboards are a visual display of key data elements needed to realize one or more business objectives in a graphical format.  The PaSDC has the ability to design, develop and host dashboards. The PaSDC has developed and is currently hosting numerous dashboards for sponsors as well as dashboards developed for our data users showing the latest Census information.

Data Services – The Data Services unit of the PaSDC is the place to go for data.  The unit can assist the client with determining the appropriate data source, review the data for accuracy and uncover meaningful information via data analysis.  The unit can then use various data visualization tools and techniques to present data.  On a yearly basis the Data Services unit of the PaSDC answers thousands of requests for data.

Sponsored Projects – The Sponsored Projects unit of the PaSDC provides numerous services to clients including database development, data analysis, data programming, data management and web site creation and maintenance.  This unit works with clients on long-term contracts.

Mapping and Geographic Information Services (GIS) - A geographic information system lets us visualize, question, analyze and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns and trends. GIS services can benefit organizations by improving data management and communication, allowing better decision making, and providing cost savings. The PaSDC can produce maps for clients, provide spatial analysis and geocoding and consult on various GIS topics including software, geodatabases, Census Bureau TIGER and PAMAP imagery. The Center provides PAMAP imagery and LiDAR data for Pennsylvania on a fee basis.

Conference/Workshops – The PaSDC holds an annual Data User Conference in May of each year.  The one day conference is the most comprehensive single-day forum for public and private sector demographic data users.  The PaSDC holds a quarterly Hands-on Census Training Workshop on how to understand and access Census Data.

For more information about the PaSDC please contact Sue Copella at 717-948-6427 or email to


In addition to the PaSDC, services from other Centers in the Institute are listed below:

Center for Survey Research (CSR):

The Center for Survey Research has provided high-quality primary data collection services to sponsors in academia, government, business, and the non-profit sectors since 1987.  The Center offers a variety of research services including:

Telephone Surveys – The Center’s suite of offices on the Penn State Harrisburg campus includes a 20-seat call center that operates weekdays, evenings, and weekends. The Center employs a team of skilled telephone interviewers and supervisors who have been trained in primary data collection techniques. Telephone surveys are administered using Voxco’s Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) software.

Web Surveys – Web surveys are a cost-efficient and effective data collection method that is used successfully throughout many industries and employment sectors. The Center for Survey Research utilizes several web survey software platforms, including Qualtrics and LimeSurvey. The Center’s web surveys are mobile-optimized so that respondents can easily complete surveys on cell phones, tablets, or other mobile devices. CSR can also provide training on designing questionnaires for web survey administration.

Focus Groups – A focus group is a valuable research tool that is useful for exploration and discovery of new topics, for context and depth, and for interpretation of a topic. The Center’s qualitative research team offers a full menu of services to assist with any or all of the tasks associated with planning and facilitating a focus group session. A professional focus group facility with a private viewing room is also available at the Center’s suite of offices on the Penn State Harrisburg campus.

In-depth Interviews – An in-depth interview is a one-on-one conversation that is guided by a trained interviewer. This discovery-oriented method of data collection allows the interviewer to delve deeper and explore the participant’s underlying attitudes and feelings on certain topics. The Center offers experienced and professionally trained in-depth interviewers as well as a full menu of services to plan and conduct in-depth interview projects.

Transcription – The Center offers a variety of customized options to transcribe any type of interview format (i.e. focus groups, lectures, dissertation interviews, etc.). The Center also employs a team of highly skilled, trained transcribers and offers transcription stations for rent for your transcription needs.

Analysis and Reporting – The Center’s professional staff can assist you with data analysis and reporting for any primary data collection project. In addition to providing a methodological report detailing both technical and quality control procedures for all data collection projects, the Center offers other services including: executive summaries, frequencies, cross-tabulations, and results reports with statistical testing and data visualization. CSR can also assist with data preparation, cleaning, and organization.

Penn State Poll – CSR’s Penn State Poll is a cost-effective omnibus survey that is conducted twice each year (spring and fall). The Penn State Poll is designed to allow organizations and researchers with statewide interests to contribute one or more customized questions to a telephone survey while sharing the costs.

Research Workshops – At least twice a year, the Center offers research workshops on a variety of survey research topics. Workshops are typically held on the Penn State Harrisburg campus; however, off-site workshops can also be conducted for large groups.

For more information about CSR please contact Stephanie Wehnau at 717-948-6429 or email to

Economic Development Course in Pennsylvania

The Economic Development Course in Pennsylvania, administered by the ISRA, is a four-day intensive course that covers core subject areas and provides a solid foundation for economic development professionals.  For more information on the course, visit:

Economic Impact – Researchers at the Institute, in partnership with faculty from Penn State Harrisburg, can also offer economic impact study services.  Utilizing the Implan® model, researchers can analyze how businesses, projects, or policies interact with and shape the economy.

For more information about the EDC or economic impact services, please contact Nicole Sturges at 717-948-6117 or email to