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Research Data Management: What is data?

What is research data?

Research data is any information that has been collected, observed, generated or created to validate original research findings.  Research data may be arranged or formatted in a such a way as to make it suitable for communication, interpretation and processing. Data comes in many formats, both digital and physical.

 Diagram illustrating the research cycle

What is research data?

What is research data?

Common formats include:

  • documents, spreadsheets
  • laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, diaries
  • questionnaires, transcripts, codebooks
  • audiotapes, videotapes
  • photographs, films
  • test responses
  • slides, artefacts, specimens, samples
  • models, algorithms, scripts
  • contents of an application (input, output, logfiles for analysis software, simulation software, schemas)
  • methodologies and workflows
  • standard operating procedures and protocols