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Software for Data Analysis: MATLAB

Recommended resources (online tutorials and books) for social science data analysis, complied by software packages and level of proficiency.

Safari Books Online

Safari Books Online - brings you ebooks and videos from 200+ respected publishers, including O’Reilly, Pearson, Wiley, Packt, Harvard Business Review, and Wharton Digital Press. NOTE: Users must register with a Northwestern email address.

Sage Research Methods includes a series of Little Green Books that provide short and accessible texts on all kinds of quantitative methods.

"Our brief volumes address a spectrum of advanced quantitative topics including regression, models, data analysis, experimental design, measurement, survey data, and more."



MATLAB is not just a statistical package, but a numerical computing environment that offers much more flexibility than pure statistical softwares, especially for more advanced analysis. It's not a drag-from-menu-bar application, and you need to learn the MATLAB programming language. MATLAB is more used in field of science and engineering, however, the statistics toolbox and econometrics toolbox are very powerful and useful for social science data analysis too.

Where to Find MATLAB?

MATLAB is installed on every public PC in the library and computer lab (link to software lists).  Remote Access to Library PCs is provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NUworkspace provides MATLAB (50 seats).

Install on YOUR Computer!

Effective 10/1/2020 MatLab, Simulink, and other MathWorks products will be available to all faculty, researchers, students and staff.  Previous licenses will be discontinued.  Access the campus-wide license through your school IT page and on the general Software page. Current and new users will be able to log in with their NU-email.

New Users:

  1. Go to Northwestern University’s MATLAB Portal. This is live now!
  2. Scroll down to "Sign-in to Get Started"
  3. Create a MathWorks Account using you NU-email
  4. Click "Download Installer" to get started

*Current Users:

  1. Go to Northwestern University’s MATLAB Portal 
  2. Scroll down to "Sign-in to Get Started"
  3. Sign-in with your NU-email, this will automatically link your previous account with the campus-wide license (40941043)
  4. Be sure to Deactivate your old license(s) click here for steps by step to deactivate
    1. Click on your initials in the top right, and select "My account"
    2. On the right click on "View additional Licenses and Trials"
    3. Select your old license and click "Install and Activate" Tab
    4. On the right select "Deactivate"

*If you are a current user and receiving notice that your license has expired this expiration date will disappear on October 1st.

If you have trouble installing MATLAB, go to the portal and click “Need Installation Help” to get support.  

Finding Data

Where to find the data for your analysis?

Make an Appointment

Contact Social Science Data Services staff in the University Libraries to discuss:

  • what data is available
  • where to find software for analysis
  • self-paced software learning resources

NUIT Research Computing provides support for a variety of software and analytic methods.

Online Tutorials

Free open tutorials online, ordered by level of proficiency.

Recommended Books

Subject Guide

Anne Zald's picture
Anne Zald
Anne Zald
Subjects: Government Information; Social Science Data; Regulatory Compliance
Main Library Room 1214
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Skype Contact: anne.zald