Troy Thibodeaux, Associated Press journalist and blogger on the Poynter University journalism website, provides a detailed and helpful list of tools to probe and present data.
The tools are divided into the following categories:
1. Spreadsheets, for basic presentation and analysis
2. SQL, for relational databases and more
3. Data cleaning tools, for removing impurities
4. Visualization tools, for the big picture
5. Mapping software, to see where you are
6. Scripting language, to help present this information
7. Web framework, for getting it online
8. Editing tools, to write code, and more
9. Revision control, to spot mistakes and save backups
10. Document analysis tools, to handle large document sets as data, provide an interface and overcome formats like PDFs.