Practical strategies for stronger data analysis

Researchers across scientific disciplines know the importance of data analysis. They understand how complicated it is, and the key role it plays in securing funding, publication and establishing long-term career success.

Yet for such a complex and vital skill, data analysis is often a process that researchers are expected to figure out on their own. This variability puts researchers in a difficult position, and has galvanised urgency around skill development in this area. 

Skills that researchers value and need

This urgency has been voiced by researchers themselves. According to a 2020 international survey of researcher training needs, 92% of researchers (total n = 344) indicated that data analysis skills are important to being a successful researcher.  

However, 78% of respondents (total n = 344) claim they struggle with that skill and would benefit from data analysis training. 

Finding and building those skills, however, has been a challenge, reflected by the fact that only 30% of researchers (total n = 456) in the survey claim to have had access to ―and were satisfied with― training on data analysis. 

The gap between needs and options is glaring, leaving researchers, particularly those early in their career, more susceptible to missteps when faced with the myriad challenges of choosing, conducting and refining their data analysis plan.  

What researchers will gain

Data Analysis: Conducting and Troubleshooting, a new course from Nature Masterclasses, provides practical skills for researchers as they conduct and troubleshoot any type of data analysis. 

The course gives researchers strategies to approach their data and refine their plan, and reviews steps for ensuring their analysis is best designed to address its purpose. 

Researchers will learn:

  • The key terms and concepts in data analysis
  • The common challenges of data analysis and the benefits of overcoming these to conduct effective analysis
  • The analytic methods available and how to identify which is best suited to your data
  • How to compile, compare and confirm your analysis
  • Strategies for obtaining feedback, troubleshooting and expressing the limitations of their analysis 

These learning objectives contain foundational tools for research success. Too often researchers are expected to intuitively grasp ―and master― these complex skills despite having few development opportunities to do so. 

This course conveys an understanding of data analysis that is expected but not always taught. It replaces a vague sense of what to do with step-by-step strategies accessible to researchers in all disciplines and at any career stage. 

Along with learning practical steps for conducting and troubleshooting their data analysis, researchers will gain insight on how to avoid common pitfalls that can hinder research and slow their career development. 

A panel of experts and a structure of success

This training features a combination of expert insight, data-driven course design and iterative performance testing, signature elements of Nature Masterclasses. 

The panel of renowned experts that helped create the content includes academics and professional researchers in data-rich fields such as physics, medicine, biostatistics, epidemiology and data science. 

The panel includes:

  • Mark Gardener
    Ecologist, data consultant and author, 
  • João Monteiro 
    Chief Editor of Nature Medicine
  • Bhramar Muhkerjee
    Professor and Chair of Biostatistics, University of Michigan
  • Xavier Vilasis Cardona 
    Director of Doctoral Studies and Professor, Universitat Ramon Llull 
  • Bronwyn Wake
    Chief Editor of Nature Climate Change

In addition, the course includes video interviews with an internationally-diverse group of researchers working in the UK, USA, France and Canada. Collectively this talented team of editors, trainers and scientists created a pragmatic learning experience that translates to practical skills. 

The course is organised into 3 modules:

  • Introduction to data analysis
  • Exploring your data and reviewing your analysis plan
  • Analysing your data

Each module is organised into impactful, material-rich 10-20 minute lessons that maximise researchers' time and attention. The course contains 4-5 hours of total learning with a learning certificate, along with English subtitles and transcripts. 

A platform for customised learning

The Nature Masterclasses platform enables efficient, convenient learning targeted specifically for busy people with limited free time. 

The platform provides researchers with:

  • On-demand access to lessons, videos and online activities designed specifically to meet researchers’ needs and schedules
  • Shorter, information-rich 10-20 minute lessons that convey maximum information in a concentrated timeframe
  • Course material organised into targeted modules that divide each topic into clear, manageable sections 
  • Varied multimedia formats, including interactive exercises
  • Asynchronous delivery, which makes course material accessible anytime and anywhere
  • Progress status that can be saved for self-paced learning
  • English language subtitles and transcripts
  • Subscription options that give institutions full access to the entire catalogue of online trainings, plus access to future courses 

These features make it possible to add crucial skills without disrupting or slowing down their day-to-day work. 

A continuum of skills for researchers at any stage of their career

Data Analysis: Conducting and Troubleshooting offers researchers from around the globe tools that take a lot of the guesswork out of data analysis. It’s also part of a larger portfolio that addresses the lack of skill-development resources on the topic. 

It complements the practical training available in Data Analysis: Planning and Preparing, published in 2021, as well as Managing Research Data To Unlock Its Full Potential which debuted in 2020.

Each course drills down on a component of data analysis; individually they stand alone but collectively comprise a unique resource for researchers conducting research studies. Whether a researcher partakes in one course or all of them, they will walk away with a new level of mastery in a critical research area.  

Gain the support you need to infuse your data analysis with vigour and credibility by connecting with the leading professional development resource, Nature Masterclasses.

*Publisher data: Nature Masterclasses Global Survey 2020

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