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Data Collection & Analysis

A photograph of med Romdhani, Programme Leader of the MSc Advanced Networking, standing next to server towers.Analysis is the process of understanding the complexity of the whole by breaking it down into smaller and more manageable parts. When people talk about analysis they often mean the process of producing findings from collected data. As a researcher you have no doubt accumulated all sorts of data that you need to make sense of.  Information Services can help you by providing tools to help you do this, both on and off campus.

So what sorts of things are being offered?

Data Analysis Tools

SPSS & NVivo can all be downloaded from the Edinburgh Napier University Software Download Service for use on your machine (PC/Laptop/Mac), whereas R is available as a free online download from The R Foundation website

If you would rather not load software onto your device, all of these applications can be accessed via the core applications on an Edinburgh Napier networked PC. See the Library Guide to Statistical Packages for more information. 

They are also available via this route if you are off campus too, by using the Virtual Desktop Service.

NVivo is intended to help users organize and analyze non-numerical or unstructured data. The software allows users to classify, sort and arrange information; examine relationships in the data; and combine analysis with linking, shaping, searching and modeling.

The researcher or analyst can test theories, identify trends and cross-examine information in a multitude of ways using its search engine and query functions. They can make observations in the software and build a body of evidence to support their case or project.

NVivo accommodates a wide range of research methods, including network and organizational analysis, action or evidence-based research, discourse analysis, grounded theory, conversation analysis, ethnography, literature reviews, phenomenology, mixed methods research and the Framework methodology.  NVivo supports data formats such as audio files, videos, digital photos, Word, PDF, spreadsheets, rich text, plain text and web and social media data.  Users can interchange data with applications like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, IBM SPSS Statistics, EndNote, Microsoft OneNote, SurveyMonkey and Evernote; and order transcripts from within NVivo projects, using TranscribeMe.

Statistics included in the base software:

  • Descriptive statistics: Cross tabulation, Frequencies, Descriptives, Explore, Descriptive Ratio Statistics
  • Bivariate statistics: Means, t-test, ANOVA, Correlation (bivariate, partial, distances), Nonparametric tests
  • Prediction for numerical outcomes: Linear regression
  • Prediction for identifying groups: Factor analysis, cluster analysis (two-step, K-means, hierarchical), Discriminant


R is available as free software and provides a wide variety of statistical (linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, etc.) and graphical techniques, and is highly extensible. One of R’s strengths is the ease with which well-designed publication-quality plots can be produced, including mathematical symbols and formulae where needed. Great care has been taken over the defaults for the minor design choices in graphics, but you still retain full control of the end result.

User licences for the statistics package STATA are available. Stata is a complete, integrated statistical software package that provides everything you need for data analysis, data management, and graphics.

Learn More

See the guide on Critical Thinking and Analysis for more useful tips.

Image of human brain with lightning bolts and ideas around e.g. A lightbulb, a magnifying glass