Data management with SQL for researchers

2 May 2023 to 2 May 2023 - 12:30-16:30
G29 Computer Room, Hicks Building
Joe Heffer, Christopher Wild

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Data management with SQL for researchers

Please note that this is an in-person workshop on site in Sheffield

Databases are useful for both storing and using data effectively. Using a relational database serves several purposes.

  • It keeps your data separate from your analysis. This means there’s no risk of accidentally changing data when you analyze it.
  • If we get new data we can rerun a query to find all the data that meets certain criteria.
  • It’s fast, even for large amounts of data.
  • It improves quality control of data entry (type constraints and use of forms in Access, Filemaker, etc.)
  • The concepts of relational database querying are core to understanding how to do similar things using programming languages such as R or Python.

This lesson will teach you what relational databases are, how you can load data into them and how you can query databases to extract just the information that you need.

Who is this lesson for?

This lesson is for all researchers working with relatively large amounts of data.

What will we learn?

You will learn:

  • What a relational database is and when to use it,
  • What SQL is,
  • How to query, aggregate, filter and combine data with SQL.

How will it be taught?

This will be a hands-on in-person workshop.

Prerequisite knowledge

There is no prerequisite knowledge for this lesson short of knowing how to use your computer.

Technical Requirements

You will need a working installation of DB Browser for SQLite which is available for all major operating systems, instructions will be circulated prior to the event.

Statement on free at point of use training

We are delighted to be able to make free at point of use training available to the research community, to enable better software and more open, reproducible research. However, free at point of use training is not free. The cost of a course can easily run to thousands of pounds, if preparation costs are taken into account.

If you sign up for a course, please make sure you either attend or cancel your booking. Bookings can usually be cancelled using or, failing that, by emailing

Running courses that are not fully attended wastes our funding (which is provided by taxpayers, charities and students, amongst others) and reduces our collective capacity to improve research outputs and researcher experiences.

Persistent failure to attend booked courses might result in you being excluded from future training opportunities.

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For queries relating to collaborating with the RSE team on projects:

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Queries regarding free research computing support/guidance should be raised via our Code clinic or directed to the University IT helpdesk.