10 August 2016

Research Data Things 18/23 - Data interviews

Thing 18

research data plan by anonymous (actually that's me but too lazy to register).

In this thing we are asked to think about supporting researchers through interviews and conversations, specifically to pick something in the example data curation profile cited.where the researcher appears to need some support. 

"The researcher does not seem to have any specific documentation practices in place regarding the description or organization of the data."

Offer to assist with or provide advice on:
  • Developing a file naming convention
  • Planning a folder structure/hierarchy
  • Managing versions of files
  • Finding metadata schemas that may be applicable for this type of research
  • Research data applications such as Nvivo for managing relationships between files and describing them
  • Managing backups/redundancy - in this example it appears that there may be limited access to internet during fieldwork so some thought needs to go into redundancy planning without continuous access to cloud or institutional networks
Some useful links:

There are several uses for data curation profiles. I think the most important one is to "provides a means for a researcher or a research group to thoughtfully consider their needs for their data beyond its immediate use" -- Carlson, Jake, "The Data Curation Profiles Toolkit: User Guide" (2010). Data Curation Profiles Toolkit. Paper 1. http://dx.doi.org/10.5703/1288284315650

There is a risk that the way the profile is written (tone and perspective) may detract from this goal. If the librarian/archivist writes up the profile from their own perspective it may be seen as to judgmental or tangential to the research goals by the researchers themselves. Also the relationship between a profile and a research data management plan seems to be overlapping.  

It is difficult when there is such a wide variation in the amount of support required by researchers. An interview with a higher degree research student or early career researcher may need to be much more focussed on developing a plan, whereas an interview with experienced researchers may be focussed more on the services needed for deposit in the repository and metadata records.