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A Data Carpentry Workshop

University of Zurich

July 18-19, 2016


Instructors: Jenny Bryan, Mark Robinson, Lukas Weber

Helpers: Diana Marek, Charlotte Soneson, Helen Lindsay, Aurélie Garnier

General Information

This workshop is hosted by the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Zurich (UZH).

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 Introduction to R; Data organization in spreadsheets, Introduction to R; Data analysis in R, Data visualization in R and Introduction to command line; additional topics. 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 graduate students and other researchers with little to no R experience.

Where: Winterthurerstrasse 190 (Irchel campus), Room Y34-J-01. 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.

Preliminary Schedule


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

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey

Day 1

Morning Introduction to R; Data organization in spreadsheets
Afternoon Introduction to R; Data analysis in R

Day 2

Morning Data visualization in R
Afternoon Introduction to command line; additional topics

Break times

Start: 9:00
Morning break: 10:30 - 11:00
Lunch break: 12:30 - 13:30
Afternoon break: 15:00 - 15:30
Finish: 17:00

We will use this Etherpad for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code. Please keep the discussion and chat professional, and abide by Data Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Lesson content

Course materials will be based on the Data Carpentry Ecology Workshop and Genomics Workshop lessons, available on the Data Carpentry website.

  • Introduction to the command line: This session will be based on the Software Carpentry "Unix Shell" lesson (all Software Carpentry lessons are also available here). You will need a working Terminal application for the exercises. On Mac and Linux systems, this is installed by default (for Mac users: search for "Terminal" in Spotlight Search, or look for under Utilities in Applications). Windows users should install Git Bash. If you are using a Windows laptop, please download, install, and try to open the application before Tuesday afternoon. Please also download the following data file:


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.