Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for help but not sure where to start? This FAQ is for you!

Who can use your services?
What can you help me with?
Are the workshops and consulting sessions free?
Who should I contact?
Do you have walk-in hours? Do I need to make an appointment?
What should I expect at a consultation?
Where are you?
Will you provide help over email?
I’m a faculty member; will you come help my class?
What are the workshops like? How do I learn about workshops?
Do I have to register for workshops? How do I register?
How can I recognize the help I get from staff at Research Data Services?
Do you think Rey is really Luke’s daughter?

And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to learn about new Research Data events and resources.



Who can use your services?
Our services are available to researchers at all levels—faculty, graduate students, post-docs, research and professional staff, and undergraduates—and within all schools and departments across the University of Virginia. If you’re engaged in data-oriented research, feel free to get in touch.


What can you help me with?
Research Data Services supports all phases of the research project through both instructional workshops and research project consultations. For example:

  • If you need to find a dataset or data source, contact our data discovery expert
  • If you need help accessing University supported research software, contact our software support experts
  • If you need assistance processing, analyzing or visualizing your data, working with supported statistical software environments, or computation contact our data science consultants
  • If you need a grant-compliant data management plan, assistance with managing or sharing your data, or are looking for a repository to preserve your research data, contact our research research data management consultants

Check out these related services from the library and elsewhere on Grounds.

Are the workshops and consulting sessions free?
Yes. All of our services are provided at no cost to the University of Virginia research community.

Who should I contact?
If you’re not sure who to talk to, email researchdataservices@virginia.edu and we’ll route you to the right expert. Or contact our experts directly (visit RDS Staff for phone and office info):


Do you have walk-in hours? Do I need to make an appointment?
At the moment, our individual support is by appointment. Please email us at researchdataservices@virginia.edu to set up an appointment; if you know who you’d like to speak with, feel free to email them directly.


What should I expect at a consultation?
The first appointment will be used to understand your research project and to outline your needs. We may be able to offer an immediate solution, but many problems require more than one meeting to resolve.

Email us (or bring to the appointment) anything that will help us understand your research design, your data collection or data needs. For example, it is often helpful if you can send or bring a brief project description or abstract, a data file or a grant proposal to a consultation.


Where are you?
Our staff are primarily located in Brown Library and the Library Data Commons@Curry (Ruffner 302). See our RDS Staff for specific office locations.


Will you provide help over email?
Yes, we welcome your email questions and will respond as soon as we can. Depending on the scope of your needs and research project, we may propose an in-person meeting to better assist you with an answer. For those off-Grounds, we can arrange to video chat as well.


I’m a faculty member; will you come help my class?
Yes, faculty interested in receiving classroom support should consult with the relevant experts regarding their needs. We can put together a session on any of our areas of expertise: finding data, managing data, analyzing data, using research software.


What are the workshops like? How do I learn about workshops?
Our workshops vary, based on the topic and the instructor. Usually they last between 1-1.5 hours and try to incorporate some hands-on work in addition to elaboration and explanation of a topic by the instructor, so bring your laptop. Our goal is not simply to show, but to make you an active learner and user of a research method, practice, or software.

To learn about our workshop offerings, visit our Workshops page. Click on the workshop title you’re interested in to register.

And subscribe to our monthly newsletter to learn about new Research Data events and resources.


Do I have to register for workshops? How do I register?
We ask that you register for the workshops so we can better anticipate who’s coming and target our instruction accordingly. And we generally send out a reminder email with instructions prior to the workshop — if you don’t register, we can’t email you. Plus, some of our workshops fill up, so if the room is too full, we may have to ask you to leave (and then we’ll have guilt). But, so long as the room isn’t overly full, you can show up for a workshop without registering. Keep in mind you may have to do some catching up on your own if you don’t have the relevant software installed or haven’t downloaded the workshop materials in advance.

To register, visit our Workshops page, and click on the workshop title you’re interested in.


How can I recognize the help I get from staff at Research Data Services?
If you’ve found our assistance useful, we hope you’ll acknowledge us in your work. If the consultant ends up providing a significant intellectual contribution (e.g., not just helping you implement approaches, but shaping or significantly creating the approach), you might consider adding the consultant as a co-author. And sometimes people give us cookies!

We’d love copies of articles and/or presentations that recognize Research Data Services; feel free to send them to researchdataservices@virginia.edu.


Do you think Rey is really Luke’s daughter?
Of course not, she’s Obi Wan’s Granddaughter!

What is the answer to the ultimate question of life (the universe, and everything)?
42, my friend.