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Managing Your Research Data

Tips & tools to help you manage your research data with less stress


3 Tips to make sure the data you collect are usable

  1. Develop a data management plan.
  2. Make sure the tool or instrument you use to collect data produces it in a format that you can easily process and analyze.
  3. Before you start collecting data for real, pilot the entire data collection, processing, analysis, and visualization process to make sure your plan will actually work.

Take snapshots of your data at these key points, at least. A snapshot is just a locked copy of your data files, saved to a backup storage location. These files should not be changed; they are for reference only.

  • raw data (before it is cleaned and processed)
  • your processed data (before it is analyzed)
  • the data used for your analysis, any analytical scripts or procedures used, and detailed notes about why data were selected for analysis or excluded