After the Survey Design & Analysis lunch and learn reached capacity at the end of 2017, we predicted that the 2018 University Around You series opening topic, “Research & Data”, would also be well-attended since students appreciate data collection and analysis tools. Because employers highly value critical thinking and data analysis, students want to know about tools on campus that can foster those skills. We loved the idea of this lunch and learn topic because UPenn is a powerhouse for research and data analysis. From Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) to Penn Libraries to Wharton Research-IT, the University provides ample research support for students at every level of higher education (UGR, MBA, PhD).
We kicked off the presentation with two research and data tools available to all students (WRDS and Penn Libraries data sets) and then finished by showcasing some of the interesting tools powering faculty and PhD research (Wharton Research-IT). Check out our video and PowerPoint slides:
Wharton Research Data Services
Matt Cohen, IT Director at WRDS, introduced the platform as a data aggregator, research tool, and source of data management for 400+ universities and 50,000+ around the world. It’s an amazing resource if you need data as a student for case studies, research projects, visualizing concepts, or settling bets (haha) but it’s not something that students can use for summer internships or side companies. WRDS aggregates many types of data: financial statements, market data (stocks and bonds, mutual fund prices and holdings, analyst estimates, M&A), ESG (environment, social responsibility, governance), marketing data (website browsing and spending habits, branch locations and sales), economics, news, and healthcare. For screen shots and use cases, check out our video linked above. To sign up for WRDS, view our instructions. Should you have any questions, WRDS has an excellent support team ready to help.
Rearch and Data Support from Penn Libraries
Margaret Janz, Data Curation Librarian at Penn Libraries, showcased ways to find and work with data. She started off with an overview of subscription data sources and Bloomberg Terminals availabe through the library. Because open data can be messy, she discussed ways to clean data through statistical packages (R, STATA, SPSS), Excel (for small data that needs little cleanup), and special tools like OpenRefine. For those who want to work on data visualization skills, Lynda.com (free through the library) has many tutorials on how to create graphs, charts, best practices, and more. When working with data it’s important to document your process and to cite your sources. Penn Libraries has dedicated staff ready to help students become expert researchers and data analysts. In fact, they love data so much that the month of February became “Love Data” month. Even if you missed it, the library has online guides, holds frequent training sessions, and you can chat with librarians in-person or through the website.
Powering Faculty and PhD Research at Wharton
Alec Lamon, Senior IT Director of the Research Analytics Team, closed out the session with an overview of the research process for faculty and PhD students. From defining to designing to collecting to analyzing to publishing, Alec’s team is ready to assist researchers. By providing Research IT as a service, they are able to help with consulting (code optimization, statistical help, and more), acquisition and analysis of data (see slides linked above for full list), and dissemination. Even though their tools are geared towards faculty and PhD students, Wharton Research-IT is happy to consult with students at all levels to help them identify the most helpful tools for research. They have experience with many tools such as Julia, Matlab, Mathematica, MyQL, R, SAS, Stata, and various Amazon cloud tools.
About Strategic Partnerships Student Team:
The University Around You series is brought to you by the Wharton Computing Strategic Partnerships Student Team. Our goal is to provide a clear communication channel between Wharton Computing and students. We focus on building partnerships by engaging with students year-round through surveys, focus groups, and ad hoc outreach. We analyze findings and then work with relevant service teams and individuals to ensure continual process improvement. Alex Milne leads the Student Strategic Partnership team. He is a Wharton Computing veteran with a long list of accomplishments here and at his previous role at Harvard University. Erin Murphy is a long-time contributor to Wharton Computing, providing exhaustive research, analysis, and development work.