When you get new data in, your tables should automatically be up to date. When you spot a transcription error, you should be able to fix it and re-run you analysis without breaking a sweat. It should be easy to subset and share data from a large project, and easy to remake a figure with that filtered data. After 15 years of collecting, sorting, cleaning, storing, and sharing data we've identified four steps that are necessary to go from a good question to a great product. Our four steps are our approach to research, and thinking of data this way makes some frustrating tasks surprisingly easy.
Developing data forms before you start collecting helps you ensure you are getting all the information you'll need. Planning your files also means you can go from collection to analysis anytime, not after you reformat and combine a dozen files.
- Custom forms for field data collection
- Custom entry forms/spreadsheets with built in validation tools
- Assistance laying out data files for efficient analysis
- Automated data summaries and reports for quality control and progress reports
Whether you get all the data collected for your project in a single day, or expect continuous updates for five years there are ways to simplify your life. This step is all about ensuring all of you data get combined and getting the outliers removed.
- Custom import functions for your unique data structure, or for proprietary outputs from instruments
- Tools to automatically combine batches of data with the same layout into a single dataset
- Custom tools to perform QAQC and record any changes made
Now is the time to manipulate and twist your data so you can learn it's secrets. Each question needs a different approach, and sometimes that approach has to get applied dozens of times over.
- Data reformatting and restructuring in preparation for analyses
- Custom tools to iteratively apply any technique over many samples
- Assistance setting up and implementing complex analyses
- Techniques for repeated analyses over grouped data
You've fought through all the unforeseen problems that happened when you collected your data. You've found something new and exciting. You want to share it, and you want it to look good.
- Figures, tables, and documents that update whenever you incorporate new data or make a change
- Visualization themes for consistent, professional products
- Interactive maps with embedded data
- Data and code formatting and review for journal submission
- Acquisition of digital object identifiers for your data and code
- Project websites ready to deploy to your own servers