Responsible Conduct of Research:Qualitative Data Management Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D. Department of History
Exercise: Qualitative Data Management Nightmares • What data management issues have you faced? What were the immediate and long-term consequences to your research project? How did you resolve these issues?
Objectives of Data Management • To ensure quality of collection • To ensure ease of accessibility • To maintain integrity of data once collected • To safeguard the privacy of human subjects
Common Data Management Problems • Poor quality control in data collection • Insufficient or unclear file naming system • Inconsistency in documenting sources • Incomplete field notes or recorded data • Loss of data through carelessness or failure to back up
Types of qualitative Data • Field notes • Transcribed interviews • Focus group transcripts • Photos • Newspapers • Government documents, laws, court records • Speeches, addresses, letters, diaries • Audio and video recordings • Observations
Best Practices of qualitative Data Management • Establish and follow quality control procedures • Organize data into clearly delineated files • Determine storage medium • Back up copies • Ensure authenticity and version control
Develop Quality Control Procedures • Determine before collection how you wish to proceed • Be clear on your methodology and aware of its limitations • Transcribe carefully and accurately • Document thoroughly
Organizing Your data • Ensure that each file/document is clearly and properly named • Abstract each file; identify themes and information relevant to your study • Cross-reference with other documents/files of similar subject matter
Data Storage • If digitized data, determine best medium for storage (USB drives, CDs, DVDs, etc.) • Utilize best practices for securing storage devices • If data is to be stored on hard drive, ensure that computer is secure
Keeping Track of revisions • Identify file/document version—first draft, revised, final, etc. • Indicate what changes have been made • Retain original or older files
Back Up Files • Select an alternative storage medium • Store at least one copy of data off-site • Retain original, non-digitized data (including notes, interview consent forms, etc.) at the conclusion of the project/research
Exercise • Using your specific discipline as example, what procedures have been implemented to ensure quality control in data collection and management?