Research tool roadmap

Dr Christopher McAvaney2, Dr Jerry Lai1, Dr Yoong Goh1

1Intersect Australia, Sydney, Australia, 2Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

‘Should I use R or Python in my research?’, ‘Can Tableau do anything that Power BI can do?’ and ‘Is Excel able to process my 3 terabytes of data?’ are some of the questions that have always been asked by researchers when they are deciding on which research tools to use in their research. The primary reason for these questions is that people, in general, do not have enough knowledge about the pros-and-cons of these tools in relation to their research context. As a result, many researchers may select tools that are not best suited for their research timeline and budget.

To assist researchers with the selection process, we propose to design a roadmap for research tools. The roadmap would be structured as an interactive decision tree which can be implemented into an online recommender system.

As the initial stage of the roadmap, we focus primarily on data collection, manipulation and visualization tools that are commonly available to researchers. We began by designing a rating scale to measure the usability, complexity / technical threshold, and ubiquitousness of these tools in different research contexts. Moreover, we are also considering other technical and financial aspects, such as  operating platforms, licensing and availability of support  within Deakin University. This roadmap will provide a template for designing decision trees for other tools to the wider eResearch community.

In this presentation, we will provide a progress update and details of the roadmap development at the initial stage which may lead to an online recommender system.


Andrew (Yoong) has a strong background in computer science and mathematics. His work interests are natural language processing, data analysis and machine learning.

Jerry has a background in psychological science and statistics. Jerry works with multiple research teams in Deakin on survey design; statistical programming; data-analytics and visualisation and promoting statistical literacy.

Christopher McAvaney is Services Manager, eResearch at Deakin University. He is responsible for establishing an eResearch program of work at Deakin which includes REDCap.  Christopher has extensive research administration experience at Deakin and is keen to leverage as much as possible from REDCap via its extensible design.

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