Scoping Statistical Analysis Support

The following is a post by our former PhD Intern, Cindy Nelson-Viljoen, where she outlines her experience of working on a significant Data Library project supported by the Innovation Fund.

Scoping Statistical Analysis Support, supported by the Information Services Innovation Fund and managed by Diarmuid McDonnell, was a six-month project that aimed to identify gaps in statistical analysis training provision at the University of Edinburgh, and the potential role of the Data Library in addressing these gaps. The focus was on understanding how statistical analysis support and training is conducted across University of Edinburgh schools; scoping existing support mechanisms and models for students, researchers and teachers; and identifying services and support that would satisfy existing or future demand.

The activities of the project included designing an online questionnaire of research students, and to engage with and interview faculty (researchers and teachers) with knowledge of and responsibility for quantitative methods/statistical analysis support in their respective school. As part of the project, the Data Library employed a PhD intern (Cindy Nelson-Viljoen) via the Employ.ed scheme, and offered an excellent opportunity for Cindy to develop her knowledge of social science methods, statistical analysis and support, and research data management in a collaborative cross-disciplinary setting.

The project’s findings will inform future planning of statistical analysis support and training within the Data Library, ISG and the University. The report describing the project, methodology, findings and recommendations is available at http://edin.ac/2hnJYPb.

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Data Carpentry & Software Carpentry workshops

The Research Data Service hosted back to back 2-day workshops in the Main Library this week, run by the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) to train University of Edinburgh researchers in basic data science and research computing skills.

Learners at Data Carpentry workshop

Learners at Data Carpentry workshop

Software Carpentry (SC) is a popular global initiative originating in the US, aimed at training researchers in good practice in writing, storing and sharing code. Both SC and its newer offshoot, Data Carpentry, teaches methods and tools that helps researchers makes their science reproducible. The SSI, based at Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC), organises workshops for both throughout the UK.

Martin Callaghan, University of Leeds

Martin Callaghan, University of Leeds, introduces goals of Data Carpentry workshop.

Each workshop is taught by trainers trained by the SC organisation, using proven methods of delivery, to learners using their own laptops, and with plenty of support by knowledgeable helpers. Instructors at our workshops were from Leeds and EPCC. Comments from the learners – staff and postgraduate students from a range of schools, included, ‘Variety of needs and academic activities/disciplines catered for. Useful exercies and explanations,’ and ‘Very powerful tools.’

Lessons can vary between different workshops, depending on the level of the learners and their requirements, as determined by a pre-workshop survey. The Data Carpentry workshop on Monday and Tuesday included:

  • Using spreadsheets effectively
  • OpenRefine
  • Introduction to R
  • R and visualisation
  • Databases and SQL
  • Using R with SQLite
  • Managing Research & Data Management Plans

The Software Carpentry workshop was aimed at researchers who write their own code, and covered the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Shell
  • Version Control
  • Introduction to Python
  • Using the Shell (scripts)
  • Version Control (with Github)
  • Open Science and Open Research
Software Carpentry learners

Software Carpentry learners

Clearly the workshops were valued by learners and very worthwhile. The team will consider how it can offer similar workshops in the future at a similarly low cost; your ideas welcome!

Robin Rice
EDINA and Data Library

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New MOOC! Research Data Management and Sharing

[Guest post from Dr. Helen Tibbo, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill]

The School of Information and Library Science and the Odum Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and EDINA at the University of Edinburgh are pleased to announce the forthcoming Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Research Data Management and Sharing.

CaptureThis is a collaboration of the UNC-CH CRADLE team (Curating Research Assets and Data Using Lifecycle Education) and MANTRA. CRADLE has been funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop training for both researchers and library professionals. MANTRA was designed as a prime resource for postgraduate training in research data management skills and is used by learners worldwide.

The MOOC uses the Coursera on-demand format to provide short, video-based lessons and assessments across a five-week period, but learners can proceed at their own pace. Although no formal credit is assigned for the MOOC, Statements of Accomplishment will be available to any learner who completes a course for a small fee.

The Research Data Management and Sharing MOOC will launch 1st March, 2016, and enrolment is open now. Subjects covered in the 5-week course follow the stages of any research project. They are:

  • Understanding Research Data
  • Data Management Planning
  • Working with Data
  • Sharing Data
  • Archiving Data

Dr. Helen Tibbo from the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill delivers four of the five sets of lessons, and Sarah Jones, Digital Curation Centre, delivers the University of Edinburgh-developed content in Week 3 (Working with Data). Quizzes and supplementary videos add to the learning experience, and assignments are peer reviewed by fellow learners, with questions and answers handled by peers and team teachers in the forum.

Staff from both organizations will monitor the learning forums and the peer-reviewed assignments to make sure learners are on the right track, and to watch for adjustments needed in course content.

The course is open to enrolment now, and will ‘go live’ on 1st March.
https://www.coursera.org/learn/research-data-management-and-sharing

Hashtag: #RDMSmooc

A preview of one of the supplementary videos is now available on Youtube:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhVqImna7cU

Please join us in this data adventure.
-Helen

Dr. Helen R. Tibbo, Alumni Distinguished Professor
President, 2010-2011 & Fellow, Society of American Archivists
School of Information and Library Science
201 Manning Hall, CB#3360
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360
Tel: 919-962-8063
Fax: 919-962-8071
tibbo@ils.unc.edu

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MANTRA @ Melbourne

The aim of the Melbourne_MANTRA project was to review, adapt and pilot an online training program in research data management (RDM) for graduate researchers at the University of Melbourne. Based on the UK-developed and acclaimed MANTRA program, the project reviewed current UK content and assessed its suitability for the Australian and Melbourne research context. The project team adapted the original MANTRA modules and incorporated new content as required, in order to develop the refreshed Melbourne_MANTRA local version. Local expert reviewers ensured the localised content met institutional and funder requirements. Graduate researchers were recruited to complete the training program and contribute to the detailed evaluation of the content and associated resources.

The project delivered eight revised training modules, which were evaluated as part of the pilot via eight online surveys (one for each module) plus a final, summative evaluation survey. Overall, the Melbourne_MANTRA pilot training program was well received by participants. The content of the training modules generally gathered high scores, with low scores markedly sparse across all eight modules. The participants recognised that the content of the training program should be tailored to the institutional context, as opposed to providing general information and theory around the training topics. In its current form, the content of the modules only partly satisfies the requirements of our evaluators, who made valuable recommendations for further improving the training program.

In 2016, the University of Melbourne will revisit MANTRA with a view to implement evaluation feedback into the program; update the modules with new content, audiovisual materials and exercises; augment targeted delivery via the University’s LMS; and work towards incorporating Melbourne_MANTRA in induction and/or reference materials for new and current postgraduates and early career researchers.

The current version is available at: http://library.unimelb.edu.au/digitalscholarship/training_and_outreach/mantra2

Dr Leo Konstantelos
Manager, Digital Scholarship
Research | Research & Collections
Academic Services
University of Melbourne
Melbourne, Australia

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