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Albert S. Cook Library

Data Studio

This guide contains resources to help users navigate the software in the Data Studio

My Guides

Data Analysis Phases

These six steps can help you to break the data analysis process into smaller, manageable parts, which is called structured thinking. This process involves four basic activities:

  1. Recognizing the current problem or situation
  2. Organizing available information
  3. Revealing gaps and opportunities
  4. Identifying your options

Source: Google Analytics Certificate program,


It's impossible to solve a problem if you don't know what it is. These are some things to consider:

  • Define the problem you are trying to solve
  • Make sure you fully understand the stakeholder's expectations
  • Focus on the actual problem and avoid any distractions
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and keep and open line of communication
  • Take a step back and see the whole situation in context

Questions to ask yourself in this step:

  1. What are my stakeholders saying their problems are?
  2. Now that I've identified the issues, how can I help the stakeholders resolve their questions?


You will decide what data you need to collect in order to answer your questions and how to organize it so that it is useful. You might use your business task to decide:

  • What metrics to measure
  • Locate data in your database
  • Create security measures to protect that data

Questions to ask yourself in this step:

  1. What do I need figure out how to solve this problem?
  2. What research do I need to do?


Clean data is the best data and you will need to clean up your data to get rid of any possible errors, inaccuracies, or inconsistencies. This might mean:

  • Using spreadsheet functions to find incorrectly entered data
  • Using SQL functions to check for extra spaces
  • Removing repeated entries
  • Checking as much as possible for bias in the data

Questions to ask your self in this step:

  1. What data errors or inaccuracies might get in my way of getting the best possible answer to the problem I am trying to solve?
  2. How can I clean my data so the information I have is more consistent?


You will want to think analytically about your data. At this stage, you might sort and format your data to make it easier to:

  • Perform calculations
  • Combine data from multiple sources
  • Create tables with your results

Questions to ask yourself in this step:

  1. What story is my data telling me?
  2. How will my data help me solve this problem?
  3. What type of person is most likely to use it?


Everyone shares their results differently so be sure to summarize your results with clear and enticing visuals of your analysis using data viz tools like graphs or dashboards. This is your chance to show the stakeholders you have solved their problem and how you got there. Sharing will certainly help your team:

  • Make better decisions
  • Make more informed decisions
  • Lead to stronger outcomes
  • Successfully communicate your findings

Questions to ask yourself in this step:

  1. How can I make what I present to the stakeholders engaging and easy to understand?
  2. What would help me understand this if I were the listener?


Now it's time to act on your data. You will take everything you have learned and put it to use. This could mean providing your stakeholders with recommendations based on your findings so they can make data-driven decisions.

Questions to ask yourself in this step:

  1. How can I use the feedback I received during the share phase to actually meet the stakeholder's needs and expectations?

Data Analysis/Visualization Tools

All the examples below are available in the documents above as well.

Click below links and then the "copy" button for the google sheets examples of different data visualizations. If you don't have a google account, go to to register one and sign in before you can use the examples.

ATLAS.ti (@ATLASti) / TwitterATLAS.ti is software for the qualitative analysis of large bodies of textual, graphical, audio and video data.

SQL is a domain-specific language used in programming and designed for managing data held in a relational database management system, or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system.

Tableau Academic Program

Mapping Software

ArcGIS Online (AGOL) is ESRI's Cloud GIS platform for searching and sharing of maps and geospatial data.

The following ESRI applications require an AGOL account:

ArcGIS Pro Desktop Application       

ArcGIS Business Analyst Web and Mobile Apps

ArcGIS Community Analyst       
ArcGIS Insights
GeoPlanner for ArcGIS       
AppStudio Developer Edition


Through the AGOL interface, accounts need to tie to specific users, who need to be members of the TU AGOL organization. Mobile apps like Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 are free to download, but require an AGOL account tied to an organization (i.e. not a public account).

A limited number of  accounts are available for each of these six applications.

To inquire about Towson ArcGIS Online accounts, contact TU Center for GIS at during normal business hours.


These resources are provided by the organization that maintains ArcGIS.

Academic Library and University Tutorials

These guides have been produced by librarians and university professors to help users get started with ArcGIS

LinkedIn Learning

The following asynchronous online courses are offered through LinkedIn Learning. Towson University faculty, staff, and students should log-in using their TU credentials. Learn more about LinkedIn Learning on the Office of Technology Services website. Questions about LinkedIn Learning should be directed to OTS.


QGIS is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) licensed under the GNU General Public License. QGIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). It runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, Windows and Android and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities.

Google Earth Pro is a 3D interactive globe and mapping program that can be used to aid planning, analysis and decision making


These resources are provided by the organization that created and maintains Google Earth.

Academic Library and University Tutorials

These guides have been produced by librarians and university professors to help users get started with Google Earth Pro

Other Resources