August 20 to September 2, 2023 | Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana


The Summer Institute will bring together people from many fields and backgrounds. In order to use our time together efficiently, there are a number of things that you should do before participating in SICSS-Accra 2023.

TAs will host office hours through Slack and GoogleMeet to support you as you work through these pre-arrival materials.


In order to prepare for SICSS-Accra 2022, you should read Matt Salganik’s book, Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age (Read online or purchase from IndieBound, Princeton University Press), or Amazon, Barnes & Noble. Parts of this book, which is a broad introduction to computational social science, will be reviewed for most of you, but if we all read this book ahead of time, then we can use our time together for more advanced topics.

Coding Boot Camp

The SICSS Boot Camp is an online training program created by Chris Bail to provide you with beginner-level skills in coding so that you can follow the more advanced curriculum we teach at SICSS. The videos and materials are designed for complete beginners and are best viewed as a sequence since each video builds upon content introduced in previous tutorials. If you are already familiar with the topics in these videos, you do not need to complete them.

If you are less familiar with R programming, we also highly recommend that you complete a set of courses on the R programming on DataCamp before the Institute.

Week 1-2 - Introduction to R programming (May 01 - May 12, 2023)
  • Introduction to R
  • Introduction to Importing Data in R
  • Intermediate Importing Data in R

    Relevant reading: R for Stata Users (chapters 1-6, pages 1-116), R for Data Science (chapter 11)

Week 3-4 - Data management and wrangling in R (May 15 - May 26, 2023)
  • Cleaning Data in R
  • Programming with dplyr
  • Data Manipulation with dplyr
  • Joining Data with dplyr

    Relevant reading: R for Stata Users (chapters 7-12, pages 119-286), R for Data Science (chapter 5)

Week 5-6 - Data visualisations with R (May 29 - June 9, 2022)
  • Data Visualization in R
  • Introduction to Data Visualization with ggplot2
  • Intermediate Data Visualization with ggplot2
  • Visualization Best Practices in R

    Relevant reading: R for Stata Users (chapters 14-16, pages 311-436), R for Data Science (chapter 3)

Week 7-8 - Tidy data analysis with tidyverse (June 12 - June 23, 2022)
  • Introduction to the tidyverse
  • Communicating with Data in the tidyverse
  • Working with Data in the tidyverse
  • Categorical Data in the tidyverse

    Relevant reading: R for Data Science (chapter 12)

Other materials that we can recommend are:

Please note that most of the coding work presented at SICSS-Accra will employ R. You are welcome to employ a language of your choice, such as Python, Julia, or other languages commonly used by computational social scientists. However, we cannot support those languages.

Computing environment


Some of the activities will require coding, and we will support R. You are welcome to use other languages, but we cannot guarantee that we can support them. Before SICSS you should install a modern, stable-release version of R and RStudio.


Before participating at SICSS-Accra 2023, you should have an account in the SICSS Slack workspace. If you have not used Slack before, you should review these getting started materials. Slack can be hard to use at first, but we’ve found that it is the best way to enable everyone to collaborate.


Many participants at SICSS use GitHub to collaborate. If you do not yet have one, you should create a GitHub account. If you are a student, we recommend that you apply for a GitHub Student Developer Pack.

Host a Location

You can host a partner location of the Summer Institutes of Computational Social Science (SICSS) at your university, company, NGO, or government agency.

Learn More