The Data TRIKE Method

How to replicate our method


  1. Break the project narrative into stages. Every change to data is a new stage. There is no rigid formula. Use the stages and number of stages appropriate for your project. Remember: delineating data is a choice, and therefore a change. Structuring it for analysis is a change. Visualizing it is a change.


break your project into stages


  1. Add a context and critique section to each of your stages to explicate and discuss the implications.


add context and critique


  1. Links to the data should be made available at every step of transformation unless sharing the data is illegal or unethical for copyright, privacy, or other reasons.


  1. Though not required, it is sometimes useful to include other contextualizing materials relevant to your work with the data, such as fair use analyses, declarations of funding, privacy statements, statements of culturally appropriate use of data, etc.


Data TRIKE is Flexible

The elements above are not set in stone. You may find that your work requires a larger or smaller number of steps, or that you need to add some elements specific to your data.  

Here are some sample questions to ask yourself during every stage of the data work. Consider, in each case, what implications the answers have for your analysis…

  • How do the decisions made by other people/entities affect what data is available and how I can access it?
  • What data is missing from my dataset?
  • What decisions did I make?
  • What other decisions could I have made?
  • Is there another tool I could have used?
  • What are the implications of the tools that I am using?
  • What is the source of this data?
  • What new questions do my transformations bring up?


Sharing Data TRIKE Materials

If you create a new resource using Data TRIKE, we’d love to hear about it! You can contact us at

We’ve licensed our case studies under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Non-Commercial license. If you create new Data TRIKE materials, please consider openly licensing them so that they can be readily reused by the community. See the Creative Commons website for more information about how to do this.