Data skills modules

Learn key data skills using our interactive video tutorials

There is a wealth of data available for reuse in research and reports – but how do you get started with finding good quality data, understanding it and starting your analyses?

These free, interactive modules are designed for anyone who wants to start using secondary data. They cover the following topics:

Introductory modules

  • Introduction to survey data
  • Introduction to longitudinal data
  • Introduction to aggregate data.

Themed modules

  • Exploring crime surveys with R (Beta version)

You can follow the modules in your own time and dip in and out when needed, and you can get a certificate of completion at the end of each module.

Please let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions for enhancements or other topics.

We hope you enjoy the modules!

Learn about how to find survey data from the UK and around the world, what you need to know about it before you can start analysing it, and how to produce simple tables and graphs for your research or reports.
  • Level: Introductory (no previous knowledge assumed)
  • Time: approx. 2-2.5 hours (you can dip in and out of the materials and return as you like)
  • Software: We use SPSS in the examples but you can do the examples in other statistical software. You can follow the module without having statistical software.
  • Dataset used: Quarterly Labour Force Survey, January-March 2015: Unrestricted Access Teaching Dataset
  • Certificate of completion available: Yes
Longitudinal studies collect data about individuals, households, businesses or any other unit of observation over time so they can be used for following changes over the life course. Learn what longitudinal studies are available, key features and issues with using longitudinal data and how to start some basic analyses.
  • Level: Introductory – but if you are new to surveys, we suggest you complete the surveys module first
  • Time: approx. 2 hours (you can dip in and out of the materials and return as you like)
  • Software: We use SPSS in the examples but you can do the examples in other statistical software. You can follow the module without having statistical software.
  • Dataset: UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society) (End user licence version)
  • Certificate of completion available: Yes
Aggregate data are data combined or ‘aggregated’ from several measurements and are often produced at geographical levels such as countries or regions. Learn where to find these data, how to produce summary statistics using them and how to create a choropleth map.
  • Level: Introductory (no previous knowledge assumed)
  • Time: approx.1.5 hours (you can dip in and out of the materials and return as you like)
  • Software: Excel or Google sheets (Unit 3) and QGIS (Unit 5). You can follow the module without having these software.
  • Dataset: World Bank (2016) Subnational Population Database, and Census aggregate and boundary data.
  • Certificate of completion available: Yes
Learn where to find survey data to explore crime and how to access it. This module also covers getting started with survey data using R Studio including basic functions, exploratory analysis, visualisations and conducting weighted analyses.
  • Level: Introductory for crime survey data, R and R Studio. Basic knowledge of exploratory analysis of surveys is assumed. If you are new to using surveys, you may find it useful to complete the Introduction to survey data module first.
  • Time: approx. 3 hours (you can dip in and out of the materials and return as you like).
  • Software: R and R Studio (open-source software).
  • Dataset: Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2013-2014: Unrestricted Access Teaching Dataset.
  • Certificate of completion available: Not yet (will be available soon).