What is the role of relational databases in research design and hypothesis testing?

#1
I am taking a database management course with a focus on relational databases as part of the requirements of a degree program. One of the course requirements is to apply relational database techniques to a case study. In other words, students have been asked to identify a hypothesis and research questions, the variables to test the hypothesis, design database tables to input the variables, and populate the database/ link tables.

I am confused regarding how exactly relational databases relate to these kinds of research analysis issues...it had always been my understanding that quantitative research was usually analyzed using some sort of statistical package (e.g. SPSS, SAS, R etc). I would appreciate it if anyone could elaborate on both/ either of the following:

1. why relational databases would be used to analyze statistical data (as opposed to a statistical package)

2. how does a relational database differ from a statistical package?

Thanks in advance for any clarity you can provide regarding the above.
 
#2
Re: What is the role of relational databases in research design and hypothesis testin

A relational database is often used more for data storage, rather than in-depth analysis which would be left for the statistical software (some databases may contain statistical functions, but often one wishes to explore the data through visuals that databases lack). A simple workflow would be to store and/or continually update data to a database. At a later date, one can then retrieve the data into the software of choice for analysis to ask particular questions of the data. When designed well, a database can be queried in different ways to view the data in different ways (eg pivot, merge, join, etc...)