How do I get started working with the PTSD Repository?

The PTSD Repository contains data from 496 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) focused on PTSD treatment. If you want to dig into the data a bit more, these tips can help you navigate the platform. Below, we provide quick information for some common tasks, as well as links to more detailed documentation and step-by-step videos.
On the platform, you can read our stories that use the PTSD Repository data to learn more about PTSD treatment and clinical trials. You are not able to manipulate the data or run statistical analyses on the platform, but you can download the data for your own projects.
We expect visitors to the site may have varied levels of comfort in working with data. This guide is intended for anyone, with more information for researchers looking to download and analyze data from the PTSD Repository.

Top Tips to Get Started

Create a Profile

Before you get too far, we encourage you to create an account with Tyler Data & Insights (the platform that hosts the PTSD Repository). While anyone using the PTS Repository may create visualizations and other content using the data, in order to save it you will need to sign up with the platform. This is easy and quick to do. You can click the "Sign In" button on the top right and within minutes you will have a username and password. Or use this link to  create an account.

Learn About the PTSD Repository

We offer an overview of the PTSD Repository platform in our "About" stories, highlighting different features for unique audience groups.
As noted, data was abstracted (taken) from 496 RCTs of PTSD treatment. To help simplify use on this platform, data was reformatted into multiple datasets.
The data were formatted in such a way that each table (or dataset) is intended to capture a core characteristic of the studies. For example, some tables are at the study level highlighting characteristics of the RCT overall, such as demographics, methodology (e.g., inclusion/exclusion criteria), risk of bias assessment, or reference information. Other tables are at the arm level and provide detailed information about each intervention arm in the RCTs, such as treatment specifics or outcomes.
To best work with the data in the PTSD Repository, you first need to identify which table contains your data of interest.  You can learn more about the specific data in each table in our story, How are the data organized?.

Easily Find What You Need: Data Catalog

Now that you have identified your table of interest, you can go directly to it. At the top left of the page is a menu icon with a link to our Data Catalog, which is a “home base” for navigating the site. (If you are not signed in, the Data Catalog is found using the “Browse” tab at the top left.) The Data Catalog lists all content on the PTSD-Repository. On the left, there is a “View Types” menu--choosing “Datasets” will give you a list of all data tables included in the PTSD Repository. You can also choose to see a list of all “Stories,” "Files and Documents" (e.g. reference materials) or other content options.
Using the search bar at the top of the data catalog is also an easy way to locate content.

Read Our Stories

We write Data Stories that help you see and interact with data in the PTSD Repository. Our stories help you understand the context of data and see trends using visualizations we created. The combination of text and visuals you can interact with help explain key themes from PTSD treatment studies. You can read a preview of all of our Data Stories.

Viewing Our Data

Whether you use the Data Catalog, Browse or Search options to locate a dataset, you will be taken to its primer page. Take some time to read through the information on the primer page, which includes:
  • Description: A text overview of the data found in the dataset is given at the top of the primer page
  • Metadata (About the Dataset): Information about the dataset includes last update, tags and a button to contact the dataset owner if you have questions
  • What’s in this Dataset?: A high-level summary of dataset properties (e.g., number of rows and columns)
  • Columns in this Dataset: List of all variables (columns) in the dataset with a description and list of response options where possible
It is important that users pay attention to dataset information to ensure incorrect conclusions or “misreading” of data does not occur.
From the primer page, you can select the “View Data” button in the top right (or lower on the screen, above the Table Preview) to open the full dataset for viewing.
Understanding row-level organization of the data is also important. Because data from RCTs in the PTSD Repository are organized into both study-level and arm-level information, there are a few pointers to remember.
Datasets at the study-level include one row for each RCT. When a dataset includes arm-level data, there are multiple rows for a single RCT. (See the image on the left for an example of arm-level data.) Each arm represents a treatment intervention (or control) used in the study. For example, the table to the left includes 1 row for each treatment arm. Some studies only have 2 arms, A and B. Others, like the Buhmann2016 example here, have as many as 4.
In addition to multiple arms, a single RCT may report outcomes at multiple assessment points, using different outcome measures (e.g., CAPS, PCL, etc.), or using different analyses (e.g., Intention to Treat/ITT vs. Completer/Comp). In each case, a separate row is included and labeled to allow for comparison. More detail about this is included where “Study ID” is explained in our How are the data organized? story.

Create Your Own Visualizations

Once you have a general understanding about the data included in the PTSD Repository and locate the table you want, you are ready to get started creating your own visualizations.
Whether you are on a dataset primer page or viewing the full dataset, there are buttons to “Visualize” or “Create Visualization”. If you are not signed in, the platform will prompt you to do so to be able to save your visualization. It’s not necessary to login. If you do not have an account, you will need to capture the visualization in a screenshot; the visualization will lose interactive features in this option.
The Support page for how to explore, visualize and analyze data on the platform offers a number of tutorial videos. Below is an example on how to create a stacked bar chart:

Downloading Data

You can download a dataset directly from a primer page (by choosing the “Export” button on the top right). Another option is to click the “View Data” button from the dataset primer page. (The “View Data” button is at the top right and above the Table Preview on the primer page.) Once you open the data view, you can select the “Export” button on the top right to download different data formats:
  • CSV (Comma Separated Values)
  • CSV for Excel (Tab Separated Values)
  • CSV for Excel (Europe)
  • JSON
  • RDF
  • RSS (with GeoRSS information if there is a Location column in the dataset)
  • TSV for Excel
  • XLM
Note that the data were formatted to be machine-readable, meaning that the structure of each table includes column variables that contain one value per row. This means that for some variables, there is more than one row for each RCT. Read more in our story, How are the data organized?.
If you are exporting to Excel (CSV) and notice some inconsistencies in value options (e.g., added time stamp, 00:00) for some variables, this Exporting to CSV article is helpful.

Filtering data prior to downloading

You may want to filter the variables of primary interest to you. For example, you may be interested in PTSD studies that were specific to Veteran samples (Column/Variable: Military Status) or included psychotherapies (Column/Variable: Study Class). Note that this filtering option is available only if you are signed in.
Once you find the dataset you need, go to the primer page and select “View Data”. You’ll land on a page that includes a tabular view of the dataset. Note: You may need to scroll to the right to see the whole dataset.
Watch this short video on how to filter data within a dataset.
Once you have filtered the dataset, you need to save the view. Choose “Save As …” from the top left. Once you have saved this filtered dataset, you can find it within the Data Catalog by clicking “Filtered view” category in the left navigation.
This help page will introduce you to the platform's "Exploration Canvas" where you will explore and shape your data. 

Access via API

Each dataset on the platform has a corresponding Application Programming Interface, or API, document that is hosted on This page contains details on utilizing the API for the particular dataset.
The API Docs page can be found from either dataset's primer page or data table page. 

Access via Odata

Use OData to open the dataset in a number of tools, such as Tableau. This provides a direct connection to the data that can be refreshed on-demand within the connected application. See the video below to learn how to connect PTSD Repository data with Tableau.

Need More Help? 

The Tyler Data & Insights platform that hosts the PTSD Repository is a powerful tool with many features that are beyond the scope of this story. We encourage you to explore the PTSD Repository and what it can do. Most of the features and controls are intuitive and can be learned with just a bit of curiosity and experience. If you're stuck, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions: (Please note "PTSD Repository" in the subject line.)
For full help documentation, see Data Insights and Knowledge Base.