Data Carpentry Biology

University of Edinburgh

Online (link)

1-15 December 2020

2pm-5pm Tuesdays, 9:30am-12:30pm Wednesdays

Instructors: Felicity Anderson, Edward Wallace

Helpers: Bailey Harrington, Giacomo Peru, Elliott Chapman, Bryan Wee

General Information

Data Carpentry develops and teaches workshops on the fundamental data skills needed to conduct research. Its target audience is researchers who have little to no prior computational experience, and its lessons are domain specific, building on learners' existing knowledge to enable them to quickly apply skills learned to their own research. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Good Enough Practices for Scientific Computing".

Who: The course is aimed at graduate students and other researchers. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: online at If you need a password or other information to access the training, the instructor will pass it on to you before the workshop.

When: 1-15 December 2020. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).

Accessibility: We are dedicated to providing a positive and accessible learning environment for all. Please notify the instructors in advance of the workshop if you require any accommodations or if there is anything we can do to make this workshop more accessible to you.

Contact: Please email or for more information.

Roles: To learn more about the roles at the workshop (who will be doing what), refer to our Workshop FAQ.

Code of Conduct

Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.

Collaborative Notes

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


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

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


Tuesday 1st Dec, 14:00 - 17:00, Lead Instructor Edward Wallace

Before starting Pre-workshop survey
13:45 Zoom room opens
14:00 Start - Introduction to the workshop, instructors, helpers, and code of conduct.
14:30 Data organisation in spreadsheets - sections 1-3
15:30 Tea break (approximately)
15:45 Data organisation for genomics - sections 1-2
17:00 END

Wednesday 2nd Dec, 9:30 - 12:30, Lead Instructor Flic Anderson

9:30 R for genomics: Introduction to R and Rstudio, R basics
11:00 Coffee break (approximately)
11:15 R basics continued: factors and dataframes
12:30 END

Tuesday 8th Dec, 14:00 - 17:00, Lead Instructor Flic Anderson

14:00 Aggregating and Analyzing Data with dplyr
15:30 Tea break (approximately)
15:45 Continue with dplyr OR start ggplot2, depending on progress.
17:00 END

Wednesday 9nd Dec, 9:30 - 12:30, Lead Instructor Edward Wallace

9:30 Data visualisation with ggplot2, using material from R for genomics and elsewhere
11:00 Coffee break (approximately)
12:30 END

Tuesday 15th Dec, 14:00 - 17:00, Lead Instructor Edward Wallace

14:00 Data surgery - Bring your own data to discuss how to use tools of the class to tidy, analyze, and visualize.
16:00 END


To participate in a Data Carpentry workshop, you will need access to the software described below. In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser.

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.

Install the videoconferencing client

If you haven't used Zoom before, go to the official website to download and install the Zoom client for your computer.

Set up your workspace

Like other Carpentries workshops, you will be learning by "coding along" with the Instructors. To do this, you will need to have both the window for the tool you will be learning about (a terminal, RStudio, your web browser, etc..) and the window for the Zoom video conference client open. In order to see both at once, we recommend using one of the following set up options:

This blog post includes detailed information on how to set up your screen to follow along during the workshop.

The setup instructions for the Data Carpentry Ecology workshops (with R) can be found at the workshop overview site.