Preparing data collection

The research questions mainly determine what kind of data are collected. Furthermore, the data types influence how the data can be created, processed and opened.

The quality of data collection methods used strongly influences data quality and documenting in detail how data are collected provides evidence of such quality. Quality control measures during data collection may include e.g. calibration of instruments, taking multiple measurements and using standardised methods and protocols.

The format and software in which research data are created usually depend on how researchers plan to analyse data, the hardware used, the availability of software, or can be determined by discipline-specific standards and customs. So, consider the file formats and software suitable for your research data in advance.

When research involves obtaining data from people, researchers are expected to maintain high ethical standards, such as those recommended by professional bodies, institutions and funding organisations, both during research and when sharing data.

Researchers are usually expected to obtain informed consent for people to participate in research and for use of the information collected. Where possible, consent should also take into account any future uses of data, such as the sharing, preservation and long-term use of research data.

Researchers should:

  • Inform participants how research data will be stored, preserved and used in the long-term
  • Inform participants how confidentiality will be maintained, e.g. by anonymising data
  • Obtain informed consent, either written or verbal, for data collecting and sharing. The consent must be freely given with sufficient information provided on all aspects of participation and data use.

Further information:

(6/2018 AK)