Documenting data is important for data preservation. Data documentation explains how data were created or digitised, what data content and structure are and any data manipulations that may have taken place.
High quality data are well organised, structured, named and versioned. Well-organised file names and folder structures make it easier to find and keep track of data files. Develop a system that works for your project and use it consistently.
File names can contain project acronyms, researchers’ initials, file type information, a version number, file status information and date. Think carefully how best to structure files in folders, in order to make it easy to locate and organise files and versions. Whenever data are used, sufficient contextual information is required to make sense of that data.
Data description and metadata
Metadata for research data can be structured according to international standards or schemes such as Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), Dublin Core, Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) or ISO 19115 for geographic information. Especially DDI has been recommend as a metadata standard for research data. Information about disciplinary metadata standards.
If you plan to deposit your data to a data repository, the repositories usually determine the metadata information needed and provide guidelines.
Read this web page about metadata for research data: Metadata. Research data management. UEF Library.
Think: How you will document and describe your data through out the research project?
Data description and metadata. Finnish Social Science Data Archive.