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Research Data Management

Recommendations and resources for managing qualitative and quantitative data collected or created in the research process.

What do we mean by "Research Data"?

From the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management (2016):

Research data include observations about the world that are used as primary sources to support scientific and technical inquiry, scholarship and research-creation, and as evidence in the research process. Research data are gathered through a variety of methods, including experimentation, analysis, sampling and repurposing of existing data. They are increasingly produced or translated into digital formats.

Research Data Canada's glossary (referenced by the Tri-Agency Statement) defines research data as:

Data that are used as primary sources to support technical or scientific enquiry, research, scholarship, or artistic activity, and that are used as evidence in the research process and/or are commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to validate research findings and results. All other digital and non-digital content have the potential of becoming research data. Research data may be experimental data, observational data, operational data, third party data, public sector data, monitoring data, processed data, or repurposed data.


What Do We Mean By "Management"?

It's never too early to start to think about the answers to these questions and incorporate them into the development of a research project. The answers may change over the course of your research.

1. What is your data?

  • Quantitative, qualitative, spatial, text, video, physical object, ???
  • Will the dataset(s) grow over time?
  • What tools or software are needed to create & use the data?

2. How will you document and describe the data?

  • Methodology
  • Field names, data identifiers, metadata
  • Naming conventions

3. Does the data need to be protected?

  • Participant/human subject privacy
  • Intellectual property
  • Anonymization

4. Will you share your data with others?

  • Expectation of funding agency
  • Open access
  • Journal citation

5. How will you store and access the data over the short- and long-term?

  • How long?
  • What file formats?
  • Hosting site?

Based on the Data Management 101 Planning Checklist (no longer online), University of Minnesota Libraries