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Digital Research

This guide provides an overview of tips, support, and resources available to complete digital research projects at American University.

Data Basics

Data collection and cleaning is often one of the first steps of a digital research project. The tutorials and guides on this page focus on how to find, use data, and store and share data, as well as how to clean data, or prepare it for analysis and ensure its accuracy.

Once your data is cleaned, you can analyze it using a variety of software tools that can perform numerous types of analyses on both qualitative and quantitative data, depending on your project needs.

Data management is another important step of any digital research project. The resources below explain how to use various tools to manage and share your digital research data.

Data Collection and Cleaning Tools

The Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the world's largest social science data archive. AU researchers have access to datasets in ICPSR through AU.

Qualtrics is an AU-supported tool that allows researchers to gather their own data in an online setting from a wide variety of participants. Qualitative data can be gathered using open-ended questions about participant experiences, views, or knowledge, and quantitative data can be gathered using closed-ended questions from a larger sample.

OpenRefine is an open-source software designed for cleaning, organizing, and transforming data. The guide below provides an introduction to this software.

Data Analysis Tools

R is an open-source statistical software that can conduct large-scale statistical analyses by running many different types of analyses on both qualitative and quantitative data. The tutorials below demonstrate the many different ways in which R can be used.

NVivo is a research tool for coding data from a variety of sources, including text-based documents, interviews, surveys, maps, audio/video files, and social media data, and then automating a variety of qualitative and quantitative research analyses for those sources. NVivo can be accessed in the Anderson Computing Complex on campus.

Python is a flexible programming language that can be used to run some statistical analyses. The tutorials below show how.

Data Management Tools

Zotero is a free tool to help you gather and organize, as well as cite and share research. The resources below explain how to use Zotero to manage and share your digital research data.

Other Tools: The CUNY Academic Commons has created a detailed list about the many tools available to you to store and manage the various kinds of research data you may gather and generate during your research.