Creating documentation throughout your research project is an important component of the research process. At the very least, you will require the information to describe your research outputs in any future presentations or publications. In order to preserve your data in a repository or share your data with others, you will be expected to provide supplemental information such as citation information, an explanation of survey methodology, sampling information, question context and coding, how and why derived variables were created, and more.
This term refers to ’data about the data’, or in other words, information which describes all aspects of your data.
The level of structure used to document your data will depend on the complexity of the project or data collected and the number of people involved in the project. Consider documenting the following information:
When preserving or sharing data, standards, taxonomies or classification systems can be utilized to categorize or document data or other information in a widely understood method. Data repositories usually request that you use an international metadata standard.
It is important to use discipline-specific ontologies, vocabularies or taxonomies and classification systems when creating and documenting your data. This is a method of standardizing information into relational schemas ensuring wide-spread understanding of concepts and descriptions.
This fifteen term vocabulary set is considered to be the core elements which should be used to describe an item. It is part of a more complex set of vocabularies known as the DCMI Metadata Terms which is an ISO Standard [ISO15836] and an ANSI/NISO Standard [NISOZ3985].
|Contributor||An entity responsible for making contributions to the resource|
|Coverage||The spatial or temporal topic of the resource, the spatial applicability of the resource, or the jurisdiction under which the resource is relevant|
|Creator||An entity primarily responsible for making the resource|
|Date||A point or period of time associated with an event in the lifecycle of the resource|
|Description||An account of the resource|
|Format||The file format, physical medium, or dimensions of the resource|
|Identifier||An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context|
|Language||A language of the resource|
|Publisher||An entity responsible for making the resource available|
|Relation||A related resource|
|Rights||Information about the rights held in and over the resource|
|Source||A related resource from which the described resource is derived|
|Subject||The topic of the resource|
|Title||A name given to the resource|
|Type||The nature or genre of the resource|
This table has been compiled from the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1 document and used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence.
We would like to thank the UK Data Service for use of their training materials in the creation of these modules.
We would also like to thank the EDINA and Data Library, University of Edinburgh for use of materials from the Research Data MANTRA [online course] in the creation of these modules.