Data processing includes aggregating and cleaning raw data, exporting it into different formats, and structuring it so that it can be used to answer your research question.
Analyzing data involves exploring and interpreting what you’ve found. Examining your data to locate patterns and trends, explore themes, and identify gaps is at the core of any research project. Strategies for data analysis vary depending on the type of research project you are conducting and whether your research methods utilize qualitative or quantitative data. Digital tools for data analysis range from statistical software packages like Stata and R, to qualitative analysis tools like Nvivo and MaxQDA. These tools are designed to support sorting, coding, descriptive and inferential statistics, and data visualization. Wake Forest University provides software downloads for many of these packages.
After creating your data, amplify its impact by making it openly accessible to other researchers. Publishing and sharing your data boosts the rate of innovation within your field by allowing other researchers to formulate new data based on your work. It is essential to ensure that your data is discoverable, obtainable, citable, and when necessary complies with funder requirements. Some items to consider when publishing your work:
It’s important to think about the long-term preservation of your research materials while you are actively engaged in the research process. Digital media are inherently fragile and are vulnerable to risks such as file format obsolescence, bit corruption, and lack of documentation. To keep your digital scholarship accessible well into the future, researchers deposit their completed work in trusted digital repositories. There are many repositories from which to choose, including Wake Forest’s digital repository, WakeSpace. DISC can assist you in identifying the appropriate repository and navigating the submission process.
It is essential to modern research projects that they be discoverable and available for re-use by other academics. In fact, most funding sources require that associated project data be made available for public use. Learn about where and how to share your project within your designated research community. In addition, find academic communities actively sharing projects and data that may be relevant to your own research. Building a researcher profile can also be helpful in promoting your scholarship. For additional background reading about why data re-use is important, read Pasquetto et al.’s On the Reuse of Scientific Data.