Document your data


Data documentation is all information required to allow other researchers and third parties to use your data adequately misinterpretation or misuse of data. Start documenting at the beginning of the project.

Consider keeping track and documenting the following research steps:

  • Research design
  • Context and methods of data collection
  • Data quality procedures
  • Data analysis procedures
  • Access conditions

At the data level, consider documenting the variables names, labels and units of measurement, their type, and formats.  

Documentation can be captured in various ways: in a research paper, project report, lab notebook, codebook, separate ‘readme’ file, database, annotated computer script and/or the data files themselves etc.

Specific information on documenting data via codebook can be found on the Codebook section:

Metadata is a structured and standardized subset of data, often described as ‘data about data’. Metadata is used by repositories and browser to catalog data and further facilitate data finding and reuse. Specific information on metadata are provided here: