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Data Carpentry Workshop with R


July 20-21, 2017

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Instructors: Gail Clement, Tommy Keswick, Tom Morrell, Donna Wrublewski

Helpers: Stephen Davison

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, Introduciton to Git, Introduction to R and Data analysis and visualization in R. 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 undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, staff and faculty at Caltech.

Where: Sherman Fairchild Library 3rd floor Multimedia Conference Room (MCR) . 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 for more information.


Register by completing the form at the Caltech Library Event Registration Page. Please follow the instructions for paying the $20 attendance fee found on that page.

Preliminary Schedule


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

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey

Day 1

Morning Data organization in spreadsheets and OpenRefine
Afternoon Introduciton to Git

Day 2

Morning Introduction to R
Afternoon Data analysis and visualization in R

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


Data organization

  • Introduction
  • Formatting data
  • Common formatting problems
  • Dates as data
  • Quality control
  • Exporting data
  • Data Format Caveats
  • Reference...


  • Getting started
  • Facets, clustering and splitting
  • Filtering, excluding and sorting
  • Examining numerical data
  • Scripts
  • Saving and Exporting Projects and Files
  • Reference...

Version Control with Git and GitHub Desktop

  • Creating a repository
  • Recording changes to files: add, commit, ...
  • Viewing changes: status, diff, ...
  • Ignoring files
  • Working on the web: clone, pull, push, ...
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Where to host work, and why
  • Reference...

R for Data Analysis and Visualization of Ecological Data

  • Basic R syntax
  • The RStudio interface
  • How to import files
  • The structure of data frames
  • How to work with factors, rows and columns
  • How to calculate summary statistics from a data frame
  • Brief introduction to plotting
  • Reference...


To participate in a Data Carpentry workshop, 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. Participants should bring and use 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.