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DataFest 2023

Whether you are just getting started or are interested in broadening your existing data skills, knowledge and networks, Data Fest provides access to a range of relevant opportunities.

Places are available to Midlands Graduate School DTP researchers if you are interested, please complete the relevant MS Form (right)

About the Programme

There are 8 workshops open the researchers from the Midlands Graduate School DTP. Some are offered online and others are in-person at University of Nottingham (these will not be available as hybrid).

Session 1: Connecting with your Data Community

Date: Thursday 19th January, 9.30 to 13.00 (includes lunch)

Location: University of Nottingham

Join us and other researchers in your data community at our opening Data Fest event to hear from experts in the field, including Professor Phil Quinlan, Head of the Digital Research Service and Director of Health Informatics at Nottingham and a number of MGS DTP researchers.

By attending this event, you will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the value of data skills as well as the opportunities and trends across the sector
  • Hear from other early-stage researchers about their 'Data Stories' including the challenges and solutions
  • Meet other researchers with an interest in working with data, and take the opportunity to network over refreshment and lunch
  • Tell us more about your data training and services needs to inform future provision in our consultation activities
  • Learn more about our 'Data Fest' programme and other support available across the university and beyond


Session 2: Introduction to the UK Data Service 

Date: Thursday 19th January, 13.30 to 15.30

Location: University of Nottingham

The UK Data Service provides access to the UK’s largest collection of social and economic data. This training event offers an interactive introduction to the data, resources and support available.

The session will involve presentations and hands-on sessions using UK Data Service data and online data visualisation tools with opportunities to ask questions.


Session 3: Accessing Secure Research Data: SafePod Network and UKDS SecureLab 

Date: Wednesday 1st February, 10.00 to 12.00

Location: Online Workshop

Access to secure datasets is possible under controlled conditions. The SafePod Network and UK Data Service provide opportunities for eligible researchers to analyse secure data.

This session will outline the options available to you to access secure datasets from data centres within the SafePod Network. The second part of the session will introduce you to the UK Data Service SecureLab, demonstrate what types of data can be accessed through the service and how to apply.


Session 4: Research Techniques using UK 2021 Census Data - FULLY BOOKED

Date: Tuesday 7th March, 13.00 to 15.00

Location: A16 Pope Building, University Park, University of Nottingham

Tables from the UK Census 2021 for England and Wales are being published from autumn 2022 into 2023.  This workshop will provide practical experience of accessing and using this data to provide a descriptive analysis of life in the UK in 2021.  The workshop will highlight more advanced techniques including multivariate analysis, spatial analysis, ecological analysis and the use of flow data to understand patterns of commuting and migration. 


Session 5: Introduction to Text-Mining - FULLY BOOKED

Date: Thursday 2nd March, 10.00 to 11.30

Location: Online Workshop

Text-mining is one of many data-mining techniques that social scientists are using to turn unstructured (or more accurately, semi-unstructured) material into structured material that can be analysed statistically. In this way, researchers are gaining access to new materials and methods that were previously unavailable. 

Developed by the UK Data Service, this practical workshop aims to give social scientists a clear understanding of what text-mining is (and what it isn't) as well as how to use text-mining to achieve some basic and more advanced research outcomes. 

To participate in the practical sessions, some experience of Python is needed (e.g. they have it installed, know how to import packages, know how to change their working directory, etc.) 


Session 6: Data Carpentry - FULLY BOOKED

Dates: Thursday 9th and Friday 10th March, 10.00 to 16.30 on both days (both days are to be attended)

Location: University of Nottingham

2-day course using the Data Carpentry for Social Sciences Curriculum. Taught by a certified Data Carpentry instructor. 

Day 1 AM: Data Organisation 

In this lesson, you will learn good data entry practices, how to avoid common formatting mistakes, approaches for handling dates, basic quality control and data manipulation, and exporting data from spreadsheets 

Day 1 PM: Data Management with SQL 

This lesson will teach you what relational databases are, how you can load data into them and how you can query databases to extract just the information that you need. 

Day 2: Data Analysis and Visualisation with R 

This is an introduction to R designed for participants with no programming experience. It includes basic information about R syntax, the RStudio interface, data frames, factors, calculating summary statistics, and a brief introduction to plotting. 


Session 7: Data Skills for Large Survey Data 

Dates: Thursday 23rd March and Friday 31st March, 10.00 to 12.15 on both days (both days are to be attended)

Location: Online workshop

Do you want to use data from large national surveys? National and cross-national surveys are key sources of research data. They give easy access to data from large representative samples on a wide range of topics.  

Through presentations and practical activities, these two workshops are designed by the UK Data Service to get you more confident working with these valuable sources of data.  

The sessions will include examples from real social surveys accessed from the UK Data Service such as British Social Attitudes survey, Labour Force Survey and Family Resources Survey. They will also highlight further resources from the UK Data Service and other organisations to help you continue to develop your data skills.  

The sessions are designed for those with no prior experience of large survey datasets or for those who would like to refresh their knowledge.  

Materials and support for the practical activities will be for SPSS and R – please indicate which software you will use on registration. The workshops are accessible to new users of software, but some familiarity will be useful. For those with no prior experience, we will send some preliminary resources to help you participate.  

Part 1: From questionnaire to dataset: getting started with survey microdata  

This session introduces features (and quirks) of survey data and includes practical skills for making sense of these valuable datasets. Through practical sessions, the aim is to get familiar with a large dataset, reviewing topics such as measurement and missing data. Finally, the session looks at issues around surveys weights and precision.

Part 2: Recoding, filtering, and linking: getting data ready for your analyses

This session focuses on getting real datasets ready for analysis. There is often more work involved in preparing data than analyzing the data. Through practical examples, the session looks at how we recode and compute variables and how to select population sub-groups for analyses. Finally, since datasets can also have complex structures with multiples files, the session will look at examples of merging and linking.  


Session 8: Sharing and FAIRing your Research Data 

Dates: Wednesday 29th March, 14.00 to 15.00

Location: Online workshop

Find out how to make your research impact go further by openly sharing your data. 

The key to sharing your data is to ensure that what you share can be used practically by others.  In this session, library data sharing experts will introduce you to the concept of making your data FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-useable. 

Making your data FAIR optimises the reuse of your data, increasing the opportunity for impact, collaboration and furthering the development of knowledge in your field.