Organising and Designing Quantitative Data

Quantitative data

3. Choosing the right tools

Unfortunately, certain general rules tend to apply to software for the management and analysis of quantitative data. The more powerful the software...

  • the more time and effort needed to master its use
  • the more expensive it is likely to be (or if it is not, it is likely to be even more challenging to learn to use)
  • the more complex the data and documentation it generates
  • the more complicated preserving and sharing its data is likely to be

So, sometimes it may be necessary to balance the desired functionality of a tool against the investment of money, time or both that its effective use and data management will require - especially for small projects. If you are making a major investment of your personal resources, you need to look for tools that can be re-used and learn skills that will have applications beyond the immediate project!

There are a number of distinct types of software that may be used by historians for organising, storing and analysing quantitative data, and they have different strengths. The choice most historians are most likely to make for storing data is between spreadsheets or database management systems. However, there are other options that you may want to consider in certain cases.