Find us on GitHub

A Data Carpentry Workshop

University of Cambridge

January 18-19, 2017

9:30 - 17:30

Instructors: Lisa M. Breckels, Marco Chiapello, Laurent Gatto, Hugo Tavares


General Information

Data Carpentry workshops are for any researcher who has data they want to analyze, and no prior computational experience is required. This hands-on workshop teaches basic concepts, skills and tools for working more effectively with data.

We will cover Data organization in spreadsheets and OpenRefine, Introduction to R, Data analysis and visualization in R and SQL for data management. Participants should bring their laptops and plan to participate actively. By the end of the workshop learners should be able to more effectively manage and analyze data and be able to apply the tools and approaches directly to their ongoing research.

Who: The course is aimed at graduate students and other researchers.

Where: Bioinformatics Training Room, Craik-Marshall Building, Downing Site. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating sytem (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below). They are also required to abide by Data Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Contact: Please mail Gabriella Rustici for more information.

Course Schedule


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey

Day 1


Data organization in spreadsheets (Hugo Tavares)

  1. Introduction
  2. Formatting data
  3. Common formatting problems
  4. Dates as data
  5. Quality control
  6. Exporting data
  7. Data format caveats

Data files for the lesson are available here.

Data cleaning with OpenRefine (Lisa Breckels)

  1. Getting Started with Open Refine
  2. Working with OpenRefine - faceting, clustering & splitting
  3. Scripts
  4. Saving and Exporting Projects and Files

Data files for the lesson are available here.

Introduction to R (Marco Chiapello)

  1. Before we start
  2. Introduction to R
  3. Starting with data
  4. The data.frame class

Day 2

Data analysis with R (Hugo Tavares)

  1. Manipulating data with dplyr

Data visualisation with ggplot2 (Lisa Breckels)

  1. Data visualization with ggplot2

SQL for data management (Laurent Gatto)

  1. Introduction to SQL
  2. Basic queries
  3. Aggregation
  4. Joins and aliases
  5. R and SQL (optional)

Data files for the workshop are available here.

We will use this Etherpad for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


All of the software required for this Data Carpentry workshop will be installed on the computers at our training venue.

However, if you want to use your own laptop, you will need working copies of the described software. Please make sure to install everything (or at least to download the installers) before the start of your workshop. We encourage participants to bring their own laptops to insure the proper setup of tools for an efficient workflow once you leave the workshop.

Please follow these Setup Instructions.

We maintain a list of common issues that occur during installation as a reference for instructors that may be useful on the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page.