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Data Analysis

Finding Quality Data

Places to find quality data can vary greatly depending on your discipline. See this guide here for information on data sources for many areas of research, or contact your subject librarian for help finding data. 

Once you have identified a data source you would like to work with, it is important to critically evaluate the quality of that data source. The following principles are a good start to evaluating a data source: 

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Consistency
  • Timeliness
  • Uniqueness
  • Validity

See this article from the UK Data Management Association for additional information on assessing data quality. 

Collecting Data

Data collection can be conducted in many different ways, depending on the discipline and research questions for your project. Examples of data collection can range from randomized control trials to ethnographic field notes and observations to web scraping. The guides below offer insight into different tools for data collection and the effective use of these methods.

Identifying an Analysis Tool

Different fields of study may have different standards for analysis, so a good place to start when selecting a tool is by asking a professor or advisor what tools they use for analysis. You may also look into the "methods" section of journal articles in your discipline to learn about what software and programming languages were used to conduct similar analyses to the analysis you wish to conduct. 

Generally, analysis tools are considered to be qualitative or quantitative tools, so the type of analysis you wish to conduct will limit the type of tool you can use. From there, it can be helpful to consider your experience level and the amount of time you have to invest in learning a new tool. Each tool has its own unique appeal and specialization for analysis, so consider carefully your research question and what your goal is for your analysis when selecting a tool. 

Check out the other pages of this LibGuide for information on popular data analysis tools supported by the library and resources for getting started.

Set Up a Consultation

Not sure what tool would work best for you? Want help getting started in a tool? Email to set up a consultation. 

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