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CamGuides: Software for Academic Use

Working with data

A computer screen with some charts on itIf you're required to carry out research or collect data with a survey or a form, or to work with large data sets and undertake statistical analysis, you will need software to assist you. Below are some of the common ways that students collect and interrogate data and statistics. 

You should always take the security of data into account as you explore this software, especially if the data you are using or capturing is of a sensitive nature.

Collecting data

There are several free options for creating surveys. When choosing a tool to use, you should look at the kinds of questions you can ask through the survey, how many responses you can access, how effective its logic is, and the kinds of reports you can produce from the results. Here are some options:

  • Google Forms has a very simple interface and is particularly good for straightforward surveys, though it does offer some skip logic. You can easily export the results to Google Sheets, so the data you collect is searchable, and it's free to use.
  • SurveyMonkey is a very popular tool for survey creation, and with a basic (free) account you can ask up to 10 questions and have 100 responses per survey. It has good features in terms of the questions you can ask, but be aware that if you exceed 100 responses to your survey you'll only be able to access the first 100.
  • Qualtrics is highly professional survey software, and comes with some exceptional features in terms of skip logic, question type and more. You can export the results in a wide variety of formats and with filters in place. Although it isn't free to use, you can request access to it from the University Information Services

Analysing data

If you are intending to use software for statistical analysis, either qualitative or quantitative, you should seek advice and recommendations from your course leaders and faculty or department librarians, who will be able to direct you to support available to develop your skills further. However, here are some options for the types of software that you might use.

Image credits

CC0 by Stephen Dawson via Unsplash