Our Mission

We believe in the power of data.

MERC provides a range of evaluation and data services to meet our clients' diverse needs. Possible supports include:

Sharing our expertise in human data collection and analysis Developing survey and interview instruments is both an art and a science. Drawing upon relevant research and our practical experience, we can help identify what questions to ask and how to ask them. We have the technical skills to design and implement data collection tools appropriate for your project, and to clean and analyze the resulting information. This expertise also translates into efficiency, and you only pay for the services you need.
Fostering good data practices Whether you are working with secondary data or planning a multi-mode multi-method data collection, MERC strives for data collection, management, analysis, and reporting that meets the data quality and security standards appropriate for your project.
Providing a professional outside perspective Working with service providers from outside your team provides a number of benefits. Contracting with MERC means accessing our specialized training to take advantage of an external, objective observer with expertise in social science disciplines, such as sociology, educational psychology, anthropology, and survey methodology. MERC staff can offer perspectives that may not have been considered before. Often, our clients are embedded in their projects and passionate about what they do. That drive and expertise are very valuable but can result in both a lack of clarity to external audiences and missed impacts and outcomes. Results drawn from external analysis and evaluation can provide both actual and perceived impartiality.
Telling the story of data Data are not just numbers and clusters of words. There is a story and context to every dataset: why it was collected, how it was collected and from whom, the limitations of the data, as well as the results of analysis and reporting. The best reporting describes these processes and puts the results in perspective. For example, an outcome of 20% may seem high, but if the national average is 40%, that greatly changes the meaning. MERC strives for clear communication of results with easily understood text and simplified data visualizations.
Highlighting inequalities and disparities Sometimes what clients find most exciting are results they never thought to look for. Whenever possible, MERC will highlight inequalities within the data. Just as we are dedicated to telling the story of the data and to provide an impartial perspective, we aim to shed a light on differences of experience.

MERC takes this support further by also providing education and training to develop these skills in others.

If you’d like to learn more about MERC and our services, please contact us at merc@unl.edu.