Data Management Lab 2.0: Session 2 learning outcomes & activities

We had a couple more people unofficially drop out in Week 2, which is bumming me out a bit. Attrition is killer for assessment data! In any case, it became clear early in session 2 that several people were not in a place where creating a data management plan for a personal research project was feasible. This is frustrating because I chose this route to make the process more real and relevant to their own research. Perhaps I was wrong about that! That basically eliminates the data management plan as a viable product for assessment, which pretty much sucks. There’s not much I was able to do about that problem in this series, but I anticipate going back to the case study format for the next iteration. The positive notes are that I was able to cover the file organization and naming convention content much more efficiently, which allowed us to spend more time on documentation and for a demonstration of the process for creating metadata from unstructured information. People were more engaged and everyone spoke out this time. The group dynamic is hard, particularly for small groups that don’t have much in common.

Generally, I’m concerned that the activities are a stretch because many of them have not had much experience with the research process yet. Those who have done research before seem to pick things up more quickly. So perhaps the active learning approach is better suited for more experienced researchers?

Session 2: Learning Outcomes

(oops, almost forgot these!)

  • Outline planned project and data documentation in a data management plan
  • Identify metadata to describe the data set
  • Develop a consistent and coherent file organization and naming convention scheme for all project files
  • Select appropriate non-proprietary hardware and software formats for storing data
  • Create protected copies of files at crucial points in your study
  • Use versioning software or documentation for tracking changes to files over time

Major activities & products

  • Data management plan – documentation checklist, file naming scheme, file & folder structure, list of master files

Products gathered for assessment

  • Data management plans
  • Index cards from metadata exercise


By Heather L. Coates

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