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Data Fest 2023

19 Jan 2023 - 29 Mar 2023 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Data skills

These are internal events for University of Nottingham staff and students and ESRC Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership students. 

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.

The UK Data Service is running five events as part of the University of Nottingham Data Fest 2023.

About the programme

Session 1: Introduction to the UK Data Service

Date: Thursday 19 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 online training event offers an interactive introduction to the data, resources and support available.

The workshop is aimed at students, researchers, research methods teachers and librarians working in social sciences and related disciplines.

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

By the end of the workshop attendees will know:

  • How to explore the vast range of quantitative and qualitative datasets available from the UK Data Service.
  • How to use online tools to browse and analyse UK Data Service data collections.
  • How to select appropriate data and understand data access conditions.
  • How to find the wide variety of data support materials available such as video tutorials and methodological guides.
  • How to keep up to date with news and events.

Session 2: Accessing secure research data: SafePod Network and UK Data Service SecureLab 

Date: Wednesday 1 February, 10.00 to 12.00

Location: Online 

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 3: Research techniques using UK 2021 Census data 

Date: Wednesday 22 February, 13.00 to 15.00

Location: 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 4: Introduction to Text-Mining

Date: Thursday 2 March, 10.00 to 11.30

Location: Online 

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. you have it installed, know how to import packages, know how to change your working directory etc.)

Session 5: Data skills for large survey data 

Dates: Friday 17 and Thursday 23 March, 10.00 to 12.15 (both days are to be attended)

Location: Online 

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 analysing 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.

Further information including other Data Fest events and booking

Connecting with your data community 

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

Location: University of Nottingham

Data carpentry

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

Location: University of Nottingham

Sharing and FAIRing your research data 

Date: Wednesday 29 March, 14.00 to 15.00

Location: Online

Booking information

University of Nottingham staff and students: Data Fest 2023: Boost your data skills and knowledge

ESRC Midlands Graduate School DTP students: Datafest (