What are research data?
Research data includes everything which is used to support the findings of your research:
- Text files
- Video footage
- Voice recordings
- Archive materials
- and much more...
In practice, the nature of research data can vary widely depending on discipline: it can be textual, numerical, qualitative, quantitative, final, preliminary, physical, digital or print.
What is research data management (RDM)?
Research data management is a general term covering how you organize, structure, store, and care for the information used or generated during a research project. It includes:
- Planning how your data will be looked after – many funders now require data management plans as part of applications
- How you deal with information on a day-to-day basis over the lifetime of a project
- What happens to data in the longer term – what you do with it after the project concludes
Research data management is about taking steps to ensure that your research data is managed effectively and efficiently throughout the whole of the research lifecycle. The infographic below illustrates the research lifecycle in terms of the "Plan, Create, Preserve" model.
Benefits of research data management
Data management is a key part of responsible research. Good practice in managing your data will ensure benefits ensue for you, your fellow researchers and the wider public.
- Funding and regulatory body requirements are met.
- Research data remains accurate, authentic, reliable and complete.
- Duplication of effort is kept to a minimum.
- Research data keeps its integrity and research results may be replicated.
- Data security is enhanced, thus minimising the risk of data loss.