No matter what your area of study, you will amass a significant amount of data over the course of conducting your research. This data can take a wide variety of forms including survey responses, image files, interview transcripts, notes, annotations, and geospatial data. In addition to using this data in your thesis or dissertation, you may also want to reuse it later in your career or allow others to use it in order to build on your research. By developing and implementing a plan for the organization, documentation, and overall management of your research data, you will help ensure that your data is findable and usable in the future by yourself and other researchers. This process is known as Research Data Management.
Managing your research data includes day to day tasks like saving files with appropriate file names and storing them in the appropriate folders, as well as long term planning such as developing good practices for the back up and preservation of your data. Some common elements of research data management include
In order to effectively manage your data for a project, it is highly recommended (and in some cases, required) to write a data management plan (DMP) at the outset of a research project. A DMP is a document associated with a research project that describes what types of data will be collected, in what formats the data will be recorded, how the data will be shared, and how the data will be backed up and preserved.