Module 6 - Research Software

Research Software

There are a number of common software available through UNE that can be used for your research. Figure 6 highlights some of the benefits of the software for research. This module will introduce you to common research platforms and programming languages, with a brief description of what they are used for and how to access them, including training and support. These tools include:

  • Qualtrics - surveys
  • SPSS – data analysis
  • Nvivo – unstructured data/text analysis
  • R - programming
  • Python - programming
  • Matlab – programming
  • Julia - programming

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and know the general purpose of some research software UNE supports
  2. Discuss your research software requirements with your supervisors
  3. Identify and plan for any training and support you will require for learning research software
  4. Know and converse with the appropriate people to assist with software or programming issues

Figure 6. Benefits of utilising research software during your candidature.

Figure 6. Benefits of utilising research software during your candidature.

Conversation

It is important to remember that advice on your research methods, and analysis needs to come from your supervisory team – you should discuss your options with your supervisors and/or research group. Advice for using the programs mentioned below comes from the eResearch Analyst and installation issuers come from the IT servicedesk. All contact details are provided at the end of the module.

6.1 Surveys – Qualtrics

Qualtrics is an online survey tool that everyone at UNE can access. It is mainly used for creating surveys for research but can also be used for:

  • Data collection
  • Data entry
  • Insights

To access Qualtrics you need to create an account.

Need training and support?

Intersect run training on Qualtrics throughout the year, you can view upcoming intersect training here. There are online resources that have been recommended to get you started.

6.2 Analysis – SPSS

SPSS is a statistical program that everyone at UNE can access. It is used for statistics, data transformation and data visualisation.

To access SPSS please get in touch with the IT service desk.

Need training and support?

Intersect runs training throughout the year on SPSS, you can view upcoming intersect training here.

6.3 Analysis – Nvivo

Nvivo is a program that everyone at UNE can access. It is used to organise and categorise unstructured data can be used for:

  • Endnote library literature organisation
  • Text analysis
  • Video Analysis
  • Interview/focus group analysis
  • Survey
  • Social media

To access Nvivo please get in touch with the IT servicedesk, or go to the software centre.

Need training and support?

UNE has access to an online course for Nvivo, please get in touch with the IT Servicedesk to get an access code for the course. The IT service desk is the contact for installation or technical issues.

6.4 Programming

Below are a few popular programming languages that are common amongst researchers. There are many benefits to programming and it is a worthwhile investment of your time to train and become proficient in at least one programming language during your candidature. Programming in whatever language provides a lot of flexibility, transparent  and reproducible analysis, and the ability to automate tasks.

6.4.1 Programming – R

Table 6.4.1. The advantages and drawbacks of R

Table 6.4.1. The advantages and drawbacks of R

How do I download it?

Need training and support?

  • Intersect runs training throughout the year that you can find here, the statistics unit at UNE have created an online introduction module (UNE log-in required) and have some training courses available.
  • Discuss statistics support with your Supervisor or Statistical consulting from the Statistics team
6.4.2 Programming– Python

Table 6.4.2 The advantages and drawbacks of Python

Table 6.4.2 The advantages and drawbacks of Python

How do I download it?

  • Python is open source and free to install: Installation instructions can be found here

Need training and support?

  • Intersect runs training throughout the year which can be found here.
6.4.3 Programming – Matlab

Table 6.4.3 The advantages and drawbacks of MatLab

Table 6.4.3 The advantages and drawbacks of MatLab

How do I download it?

  • UNE has a site license
  • Install locally
  • Contact the Computer Science Department if you have technical issues

Need training and support?

6.4.4 Programming – Julia

Table 6.4.4 The advantages and drawbacks of Julia

Table 6.4.4 The advantages and drawbacks of Julia

How do I download it?

6.5 Guidelines

The main thing to do when using a new software or learning a programming language is to ask your supervisor and peers, and do your own research. Some of the major questions that you should be asking include:

  • Which software or programming language is most commonly used in my field? 
    • Are there others’ code that I can reuse?
  • Why would I program? What problems would I solve? 
    • Small-scale or big-scale data analysis?
    • Software building in general?
    • Website integration?
  • What existing libraries can I take advantage of? 
    • Text processing?
    • Data visualisation?
    • Mapping?

6.6 Key contacts

IT service desk

Ph 02 6773 500

eResearch analyst

Ph 02 6773 4227

Progress to Module 7- The Research Question.