Track, organize and share your work: An introduction to Git for psychological research

University of Hamburg

version control
open science

Summer 2024  Local  24 attendees


April 8, 2024

Course Content

In today’s digital age, the majority of scientific insights in psychological research are gained from the analysis of data using programming code. Although data and code are integral parts of their work, scientists often handle digital objects on their computers in a somewhat chaotic, unreliable, and irreproducible manner. It’s not uncommon to hear researchers wondering, “Which version of my data and code did I use to get this result?” or “I found a bug in my code. Since when was it there?” and “This code used to work! What did I change?”. This not only affects the reproducibility and trustworthiness of science but also frequently leads to frustration, a waste of time, and, at worst, the loss of painstakingly accumulated work. The good news is that scientists can learn about practices and tools from other disciplines, particularly software engineering, that have significantly professionalized collaborative work on digital objects like programming code. At the core of this toolkit is the free and open-source software Git, a so-called version control system that allows tracking and organizing the evolution of digital objects on computers and sharing them via platforms like GitHub. In this hands-on course with practical exercises, participants will learn how to track, organize and share their work using Git.

Course Goals

The primary aim of this course is to empower students with the skills to efficiently organize projects on their computers using Git and GitHub. Participants will actively engage in hands-on experiences with these tools, exploring both the command-line and Graphical User Interfaces. Proficiency in Git and GitHub not only enhances students’ effectiveness in conducting research projects by ensuring organized and reproducible workflows but also elevates their employability. The technical skills acquired in this course are increasingly sought after in various work settings, providing students with a competitive edge in today’s dynamic job market.

Course Mechanics

Guided by the seminar instructor, participants will receive input while working through a dedicated Git Handbook ( that is tuned to the structure of the course and needs of the students, as well as engaging in practical hands-on exercises with Git and GitHub.