Data management planning proceeds from an understanding of the data cycle in your research. Each phase of the cycle requires careful consideration of how data should be treated or used.
A comprehensive data cycle extends beyond the initial data collection, analysis and outcomes reporting. The preservation of data and associated materials to ensure future access is also part of the data cycle. A proper data management plan that documents and curates datasets and research materials can reduce the risk of data degradation or loss due to changes with platforms or software tools. Saving the data and research materials in non-proprietary formats allows access by other researchers after the end of the research project.
Researchers, through consultation with librarians and information technologists, can learn more about the data cycle and develop a relevant data management plan for their project.
To learn more about data management, see the DMP Tool page of this guide. If you are interested in learning more about data management practices, there are resources and training courseslisted in this guide as well.
Key Issues with Using Data
Among the key considerations when using data in your research (after creating a data management plan) are:
Using proper tools to format, analyze, manipulate, visualize, and provide version control over your data and code.
Citing data correctly to give proper credits and provide adequate documentation.
Maintaining metadata, or "data about your data," to make it discoverable, accessible, and understandable to other researchers.
Securing & assuring (validating) your data to maintain its integrity over the short- and long-term.
Curating & preserving data in good repositories that will ensure long-term access and usability.
Tools and Tips with Data
Besides data management, there are other related topics such as copyright, metadata, and version control that are relevant to using research data.
To learn more about publicly available datasets, visit our library guide on Finding Datasets. The UNT Libraries Digital Curation Unit promotes metadata consistency for long-term access to digital resources. Please visit their site for suggestions and tips on metadata for your project.