Skip to main content

The Researcher's Toolkit

The Researcher's Toolkit is a technology workshop series designed to help Northwestern researchers improve scholarly productivity and efficiency in the areas of programming, data analysis, scientific computing, data management, publication skills, and GIS. All workshops are held on the Evanston campus at Mudd Hall, room 2210 or room 2124. Unless otherwise specified, snacks will be provided. There is no cost to attend.

This workshop series is hosted in collaboration with the Northwestern University Library and Northwestern University Information Technology.

Winter 2018 Topics

Strategies and Tools for Managing Your Scholarly Identity

Wednesday, January 10th, 3-4:30pm

Instructors: Steven Adams, Life Sciences Librarian, Northwestern University Libraries; John Dorr, Head, Digital Scholarship Services, Northwestern University Libraries

Effectively managing your scholarly identity can make you and your work more accessible and ensure that you are represented the way that you intend. This session will cover the Northwestern University supported profiling systems with an emphasis on ORCID and Northwestern Scholars. During this session participants will learn how to automatically populate their ORCID record from existing citation services and gain insight into the methods for refining your profiles to broaden the reach of your scholarship.

Register.

Resources for Text Mining and Analysis

Wednesday, January 24th, 1-2:30pm

Instructors: Carol Doyle, Business Librarian, Northwestern University Libraries; Christina Maimone, Senior Computational Social Sciences Specialist, Research Computing Services

Are you interested in creating a novel data set for your research? Is there a collection of text documents with information you'd like to use? This workshop will help you learn about 1) open source and library databases containing text documents that you may not know about, and 2) how these documents can be processed, and information extracted from them, to create new data sets and ways of understanding the data. We'll be discussing possibilities for developing new research topics or supplementing your existing research with new types of data. Library and research computing staff will discuss the support available for researchers looking to incorporate collections of documents into their research.

Register.

Introduction to Version Control and Git

Wednesday, January 31st, 3-4:30pm

Instructor: Matthew Rich, Senior Cloud Services Specialist, Research Computing Services

A version control system is a useful tool that keeps track of changes to files, including code and documents. These systems are also crucial for collaborating with other people and merging changes while you work on the same files. Git is a popular modern version control system that is widely used, free, extremely fast and very capable. Come learn the basics of using git for version control and collaboration.

Register.

Web Fundamentals

Wednesday, February 7th, 3-4:30pm

Frank Elavsky, Data Visualization Specialist, Research Computing Services

This is geared toward an audience that wants to learn what layers comprise a website, from HTML to CSS and even Javascript. The course is designed as a "hello world" introduction to web development; we deconstruct a page down to it's basic elements. We dig into the console and I outline several different ways to accomplish basic website design and interactivity development. I also show how useful browser developer tools are, digging into the element inspector, console, and properties inspector.

Register.

ICPSR: Resources and Services

Wednesday, February 21st, 3-4pm

Instructor: Anne Zald, Assistant Head for Government, Business & Geospatial Services, Northwestern University Libraries

ICPSR, a data archive for the social and behavioral sciences, is a core resource for quantitative (and increasingly for qualitative) researchers. This workshop will highlight the resources and services available to you through Northwestern's ICPSR membership (maintained by the University Libraries). NU students, faculty, and staff have access to raw data from more than 10,000 studies, support for teaching with quantitative data, training in statistical methodologies and data management through the annual Summer Program, and a repository for sharing datasets for secondary analysis by other researchers.

Register.

Starting a Scholarly Journal

Wednesday, March 7th, 3-4pm

Instructor: Chris Diaz, Digital Publishing Librarian, Northwestern University Libraries

Learn everything you need to know to start your own scholarly journal. This workshop will provide an overview of the scholarly publishing process for online journals, including governance structures, aims & scope, peer-review, publishing platforms, access models, discovery services, and assessing impact. Free resources available to Northwestern affiliates for journal publishing will be introduced. .

Register.


Select Past Topics

Introduction to the Command Line

Instructor: Marco Alsina, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering 
This workshop will teach you how to use a command line terminal with the Bash shell to list, access, create, move, and copy directories and files on your computer or a remote system. These skills are essential for users accessing remote systems like Quest or installing open source software and packages on their own systems.

Sharing Your Research and Data with Arch

Instructor: Chris Diaz, Digital Publishing Librarian, Northwestern University Library
Grant funding agencies and journal publishers increasingly require data sets to be archived and publicly available online. The open science movement advocates for greater transparency in research methodology to address problems with reproducibility in the social and life sciences. Conference presentations, lectures, unpublished papers, blog posts, and other web content suffer link-rot or are otherwise lost in the digital ether. Arch is a self-deposit research and data repository designed for faculty and students to preserve and share scholarly materials. Arch is free to use and is supported by the Northwestern University Libraries.

Introduction to LaTeX

Instructor: Alper Kinaci, Senior Computational Specialist, Research Computing Services
Do you get tired of formatting your documents? LaTeX is a typesetting program where you write in a plain text environment. It includes features to create production/publication quality technical and scientific documents from the plain text content. The LaTeX interpreter formats the spacing, equations, graphics, tables, references, and other elements throughout your documents with simple commands. This introductory workshop will cover basic formatting commands for the text, equations, tables, and figures. Graphical user interfaces for personal and collaborative LaTeX writing, such as LyX and Overleaf will also be introduced.

Introduction to GIS

Instructor: Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwester University Libraries
GIS is software that displays and analyzes information related to a geographical location. The power of GIS is it's ability examine a wide variety of data in various combinations to understand the interrelationship between it. This workshop will introduce you to Esri ArcGIS Desktop software as well as ArcGIS Online web mapping to show you a range of ways that researchers can make use of GIS analysis in their research. We will also discuss the GIS software and services available at Northwestern University Libraries.

Intro to R

Instructors: Christina Maimone, Senior Computational Social Sciences Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwestern University Libraries

R is used across academic disciplines for data processing, analysis, and visualization.  This introduction to R will help those who have never used R before become familiar with the RStudio environment, learn how to import data, and perform basic data manipulation tasks and calculations.  We will also discuss how to use the documentation, as well as resources for learning and practicing R on your own.  Bring your laptop to follow along.

Visualization with R: ggplot2 and plotly

Instructor: Christina Maimone, Senior Computational Social Sciences Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Learn how to visualize your data in R with ggplot2 and plotly. With ggplot2, you can make complex, multi-layered graphics with just a few lines of code. We'll cover the basics of ggplot2 and then work on examples of different plot types and options. Use plotly to make your graphs interactive and easier to explore. This workshop assumes basic familiarity with accessing and manipulating data in R. Bring a laptop with R installed to follow along.

LaTeX

Instructors: Pascal Paschos, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Alper Kinaci, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Do you get tired of formatting your documents? LaTeX is a typesetting program where you write in a plain text environment. It includes features to create production/publication quality technical and scientific documents from the plain text content. LaTeX interpreter formats the spacing, equations, graphics, tables and many more throughout your documents with simple commands. This introductory workshop will cover basic formatting commands for the text, equations, tables and figures. Graphical user interfaces for personal and collaborative LaTeX writing such as LyX and Overleaf will also be introduced. Installation instructions will be sent by email to prepare for the workshop if you wish to follow along with your laptop. 

GIS

Instructor: Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwestern University Libraries

GIS is a software that displays and analyzes information related to a physical location. The power of GIS is the ability to add a wide variety of information and examine it in various combinations to understand the interrelationship between the layers. In this workshop we will use Esri ArcGIS Desktop to examine crime in the City of Chicago. We will go over the basics of map making and visualization as well as some basic geospatial analysis. No prior experience necessary. Laptop running Win OS with ArcGIS Desktop installed (available at http://www.it.northwestern.edu/software/arcgis/index.html) required if you wish to follow along.

Network Analysis Using ArcGIS Online

Instructor: Kelsey Rydland, GIS and Data Analyst, Northwestern University Libraries

Interested in doing spatial analysis without having the burden of learning a new software package? Want some simple ways of answering common spatial problems? ArcGIS Online is an application that runs on both Windows and MacOS and can be used to quickly and easily help you do things like find locations, create hot spots, drive-time areas or other types network analysis. This presentation provides an overview of the spatial analysis capabilities within ArcGIS Online. No previous experience necessary.

Data Management

Instructor: Cunera Buys, Librarian, Digital Scholarship Services, Northwestern University Library

Many Federal and private funding agencies now require a Data Management Plan (DMP) with every funding request.  This session will provide an overview of DMP requirements. It will also review questions to consider when creating a DMP and provide guidance for drafting a DMP.

Scholarly Identity Management

Instructor: Steve Adams, Life Sciences Librarian, Northwestern University Library

Managing your scholarly identity can make you and your work more accessible and insure that you are getting credit for the work you produce. The session will cover a broad array of strategies for refining your scholarly identity, such as registering with ORCiD, joining social networks for scholars, and updating institutional profiles.

Introduction to Python

Instructor: Janna Nugent, Senior Bioinformatics Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Python has emerged as one of the most popular programming languages for researchers.  Python is a general purpose, high level programming language capable of supporting a variety of inquiries depending where your data leads.  This introduction to Python will include tools that make learning to use Python intuitive and fun.

Visualization with Python: matplotlib and pandas

Instructors: Pascal Paschos, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Christina Maimone, Senior Computational Social Sciences Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

Are you using Python to analyze data? Then learn how to visualize it with the matplotlib plotting library. The pandas data analysis library has built-in support for matplotlib, but matplotlib works with other analysis libraries and data structures too. We'll work through examples of several different types of plots, learn how to change styles and options, and talk about resources for learning to create professional plots on your own. This workshop assumes you're comfortable writing at least basic Python code. Bring a laptop to follow along.

Introduction to Parallel Computing

Instructor: Pascal Paschos, Senior High Performance Computing Specialist, Research Computing Services, Northwestern Information Technology

The topic initiates the audience into the concepts of parallel computing. Topics include distributed versus shared memory computing, domain decomposition, multiprocessor architectures and hybrid programming techniques. We will also discuss current and emerging parallelism implementations in popular programming and scripting languages (C/C++, Python, Matlab, R, Scala and Julia).

OpenMP/MPI

Instructors: Pascal Paschos, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services and Alper Kinaci, Senior Computational Specialist, Northwestern IT Research Computing Services

OpenMP (Open Multi-Processing) and MPI (Message Passing Interface) are two standard approaches to parallelize codes. OpenMP provides parallelism within a multi-core node and MPI offers intra- and inter-node parallelization. This introductory course will focus on the fundamental concepts of parallel computing using these two methods. Topics will include distributed versus shared memory computing, constructing parallel regions, domain decomposition and avoiding race conditions.

Last Updated: 4 January 2018

Get Help Back to top