Essential Data Analysis Skills for Researchers

  • Sheffield - 20th/21st January 2020
  • 09:30am - 5pm
  • Bartolome House, Seminar Room EG03


In many domains of research the rapid generation of large amounts of data is fundamentally changing how research is done. The deluge of data presents great opportunities, but also many challenges in managing, analysing and sharing data.

This workshop is designed to teach basic concepts, skills and tools for working more effectively with data, using a combination of tools with a main focus in R. The workshop is aimed at researchers in the life sciences at all career stages and is designed for learners with little to no prior knowledge of programming, shell scripting, or command line tools

Please note that this course is funded by the ThinkAhead scheme and only available to staff / students at The University of Sheffield

Course Data

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Timetable and Materials

Day 1

Day 2 - Materials

  • 09:30 - 12:30 Data Manipulation in R (including coffee break)
  • 12:30 - 13:30 LUNCH (not provided)
  • 13:30 - 15:00 Plotting data in R
  • 15:00 - 17:00 Summarising and Joining Data


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Objectives:- After this course you should be able to:

  • “Clean” a spreadsheet so that it is ready for analysis in R
  • Create a reproducible piece of R code to import and visualise data
  • Know how to develop your data analysis skills after the course

Aims:- During this course you will learn about:

  • How to avoid common formatting mistakes
  • How to use spreadsheet programs (such as Excel) more effectively, and the limitations of such programs
  • Writing and executing basic data analysis workflows in R


  • No prior programming experience is required

Software installation

You will need to bring an internet-enabled laptop to the course and install the latest versions of R, RStudio and OpenRefind before coming to the course


Install R by downloading and running this .exe file from CRAN. Also, please install the RStudio IDE. Note that if you have separate user and admin accounts, you should run the installers as administrator (right-click on .exe file and select “Run as administrator” instead of double-clicking). Otherwise problems may occur later, for example when installing R packages.

The latest version of OpenRefine can be downloaded from here:-


Install R by downloading and running this .pkg file from CRAN. Also, please install the free RStudio IDE

The latest version of OpenRefine can be downloaded from here:-


You can download the binary files for your distribution from CRAN. Or you can use your package manager (e.g. for Debian/Ubuntu run sudo apt-get install r-base and for Fedora run sudo yum install R). Also, please install free the RStudio IDE.


  • Mark Dunning, Bioinformatics Core Director
  • Katjusa Koler, PhD Student
  • Bev Jones, University of Sheffield Library Services
  • Tim Freeman, PhD Student
  • Niamh Errington, PhD Student


Please use this link to register for the course.

For queries relating to collaborating with the Bioinformatics Core team on projects:

Join our mailing list so as to be notified when we advertise talks and workshops by subscribing to this Google Group. You can also connect with us on Linkedin.

Requests for a Bioinformatics support clinic can be made via the Research Software Engineering (RSE) code clinic system. This is monitored by Bioinformatics Core staff, so we will ensure the appropriate expertise (which may involve individuals from multiple teams) will be available to help you

Queries regarding sequencing and library preparation provision at The University of Sheffield should be directed to the Multi-omics facility in SITraN or the Genomics Laboratory in Biosciences.