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. Whether you are looking for data, writing a proposal for a research project, or struggling to find the right repository to use for publishing your data or code, we can help make the process as simple as possible.
What are Data?
Data are anything on which you perform analysis: Results from wet lab experiments, surveys, coded interviews, census records, instrument readouts, literary corpus, etc. In modern research, data are meant to be machine-readable, which means that in order for humans to understand the data, we need proper documentation like a README file, a codebook, or data dictionary. Codebooks and data dictionaries outline the codes and values used to label observations. For example, in social science, 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 Research 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.