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Estelle and Melvin Gelman LibraryEckles Library at the Mount Vernon CampusVirginia Science and Technology Campus Library

Data Services at GW Libraries

Gelman Library is partnering with multiple departments and units across GW's campus to provide students, faculty, and staff with data support throughout their research. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for data or writing a proposal for a research project, our Data Services Librarian can help make the process as simple as possible.

What is Data?

Data, primarily gathered from surveys, interviews, experiments, census or administrative records, are unprocessed numeric information that allows users to work interactively with numbers at the variable level and conduct quantitative reasoning for their research arguments.  Users draw conclusions based upon the results of their data analysis. In most data, the variables are represented by columns and the records or cases are represented by rows. Data is meant to be machine-readable, which means that in order for humans to understand the data, we need proper documentation like a codebook or data dictionary. Codebooks and data dictionaries outline the codes and values used to label observations. For example, there may be a variable for Gender in the dataset where '1' represents Male and '2' represents Female. This information would be listed in a codebook so that we can read and interpret the data in the Gender variable.

What is Data Management?

Data management refers to activities and practices that support the long-term preservation, access, and use of data. The activities surrounding data management can include planning, documenting data, formatting data, storing data, anonymizing data, and controlling access restrictions on data.

Data management is becoming more prevalent in research conversations due to a large number of federal funding agencies and government entities requiring data to be made available after the completion of a funded research project. These agencies also require transparency of project operations, which means that data management plans must be outlined, submitted, and approved during the initial proposal process for every research project.


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