Documenting Your Data

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Exercise

Documenting Your Data

  1. Make a list of three types of documentation at the project or file level that you will need to create for a research project you are carrying out. For each item, indicate in what form you’ll create the documentation and offer a short description of the types of information you’ll include in that documentation. Then, imagine that you are carrying out your project in more than one context, and need to do so in as similar a way as possible across contexts in order to maximize the comparability (and thus analytic utility) of the data. Imagine that you did not produce any of the documentation you were just planning to create. What are three ways in which data generation in the additional contexts could depart from data generation in the initial context, and how would those departures impact the analytic utility of the data?
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    1. Documentation lists and insights will vary considerably from project to project. The goal of this exercise is simply for you to think about the ways in which data documentation is valuable – operationally and analytically – to you and your project, as the more valuable you perceive documentation to be the more likely you are to create it.