The Centre for Data, Culture & Society (CDCS) provides resources and support for researchers interested in improving and implementing their digital research skills, including a researcher-led training programme and a training bursary scheme Research has been subject to a widespread computational transformation in recent years and CDCS are helping to guide researchers as they navigate new and exciting avenues.
Growing research capacity
CDCS training runs from introductory courses focused on coding to hands-on classes that cover a vast range of digital methods. The programme is part of CDCS’ broader mission grow capacity for data-driven and applied digital research across disciplines (with a focus on the Humanities) and build an open and inclusive community in which such research can thrive.
This year, increasing the Centre’s capacity for delivering training, and achieving a better understanding of training needs across the College, is key. CDCS have already identified high demand for types of training that will constitute their core teaching programme in the upcoming years. Training in languages such as Python, R and GIS have been very well received and the plan is to offer sessions on a regular basis. The programme is also responsive to researchers’ needs and new topics are added every semester.
Digital pathway and guide
Alongside core training, CDCS is also developing new and innovative methods to support researchers through their learning journey. The world of digital research methods can offer overwhelming possibilities, so with the help of researchers that have already implemented digital methods in their own work, CDCS are building a series of pathways that will guide beginners through the steps and concepts they need to master new methodologies. For each step, a general introduction to the subject and a series of links to further information and different types of training (from live events to self-learning tools) will be provided.
Informal and practical support
CDCS have also introduced a new workshop called Digital Method of the Month. These regular meetings provide an informal and practical introduction, exploring how to get started with a particular method, evaluating how much time would need to be invested, and considering possible pitfalls and barriers.
Lucia Michielin, Digital Skills Training Manager at CDCS, commented:
“The researchers we work with have limited time, especially at present. It is important that they are able to see up front how useful a new method may be and what kind of investment it involves. Our first method of the month workshop was in October and focused on GIS. In November we will be exploring best practices of data visualisation.
“Since the beginning of the autumn semester, we have delivered events ranging from single workshops to longer courses, reaching more than 250 researchers across the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences and beyond. By the end of the year CDCS will deliver 11 more events and a full programme for second semester will be available soon. It’s exciting to be able to provide this kind of intense support to researchers and knowing the effect it can have on their work.”
Transformations through data-driven and digitally-engaged research
Part of the Edinburgh Futures Institute, CDCS was founded in the wider context of the College of Arts Humanities and Social Science’s commitment to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.
As data and digital technology transform our universities, our city and our world, CDCS and EFI aim to ensure that the vital contribution that researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences make to this transformation is supported, recognised and celebrated.
More details on CDCS’ training programme can be found here: https://www.cdcs.ed.ac.uk/news/upcoming-cdcs-training