I have never documented my data before. I have both qualitative and quantitative data and I work on a collaborative project. Where do I start?
Systematically documented research data is the key to making the data publishable, discoverable, citable and reusable and overall data quality improves with clear and detailed documentation. It is vital to document both the study for which the data has been collected and the data itself. These two levels of documentation are called project-level and data-level documentation.
Project-level documentation explains the aims of the study, what the research questions/hypotheses are, what methodologies were being used, what instruments and measures were being used, etc. In the accordion the questions which your project-level documentation should answer are stated in more detail:
Data-level or object-level documentation provides information at the level of individual objects such as pictures or interview transcripts or variables in a database. You can embed data-level information in data files. For example, in interviews, it is best to write down the contextual and descriptive information about each interview at the beginning of each file. And for quantitative data variable and value names can be embedded within the data file itself.
In the tabs below we provide you with examples of: