About MANTRA

MANTRA is a free, online non-assessed course with guidelines to help you understand and reflect on how to manage the data you collect throughout your research. The course is particularly appropriate for those who work with digital data.

Through a series of interactive online units you will learn about terminology, key concepts, and best practice in data management.

On completion of this course you will:

  • Be aware of the risk of data loss and data protection requirements.
  • Know how to store and transport your data safely and securely (backup and encryption).
  • Have experience in handling data in software packages such as R, SPSS, NVivo, or ArcGIS.
  • Recognise the importance of good research data management practice in your own context.
  • Be able to devise a research data management plan and apply it throughout the project's life.
  • Be able to organise and document your data efficiently during the course of your project.
  • Understand the benefits of sharing data and how to do it legally and ethically.

There are eight online units and four downloadable data handling tutorials: R, SPSS, NVivo, and ArcGIS. Each unit takes up to one hour, plus time for recommended resources and data handling exercises. In the units you will find explanations, descriptions, examples, exercises, and video clips in which academics, PhD students and others talk about the challenges of managing research data. The data handling tutorials are designed to be downloaded and worked through in the selected software environment.

MANTRA is maintained by Data Library staff in Information Services, University of Edinburgh. It was originally developed in collaboration with the Institute for Academic Development as part of a Jisc-funded Managing Research Data project (2010-11). The content was developed based on a needs assessment with three postgraduate training programmes at the University of Edinburgh in the fields of geosciences, social and political sciences and clinical psychology.

You are free to re-use part or all of this work. MANTRA modules and data handling exercises are available for download via JORUM (http://hdl.handle.net/10949/18281). Video interviews with University of Edinburgh researchers and selected videos are available via the Data Library YouTube channel. Please see the Acknowledgements page for conditions of the open licence. This is the 2014 (fourth) release of MANTRA.

A digital version of the MANTRA leaflet can be found here. Printed MANTRA leaflets are available for distribution on request. Please contact the Data Library.

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