From the 13th to the 17th of February, along with other academic and research libraries, data archives and organisations, QUT Library is celebrating the value and importance of research data, which are (we believe) crucial for advancing our knowledge of the world around us.
The theme for the 2017 social media event is ‘data quality’ and each day focuses on a different aspect of research data management:
13 February – Defining data quality
14 February – Documenting, describing, defining
15 February – Good data examples
16 February – Finding the right data
17 February – Rescuing unloved data
QUT researchers are also getting into the swing of things! Here’s what Associate Professor Adrian Barnett from the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health has to say about issues he’s faced in the research data management process:
“A huge issue is data access. I’ve seen PhDs and postdocs ruined because individuals and groups won’t release or share data, even though it’s almost always data collected from the public and the goal of the research is always to improve public health. And oftentimes, the groups are doing nothing with the data, they just don’t want to share it just in case.
People also wear themselves out collecting too much data. At the project design stage, there’s often a lot of thought that a particular variable or new data source would be great to collect. If multiple people with different “pet” variables are involved, the data collection becomes massive and eats all of the project budget and time. An analysis is then hastily done because there’s no time or energy left. Answering a few questions well is the better option than answering a lot of questions badly.”
Dr Tony Beatton, a researcher from the School of Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business who’s completing a PhD on the economics of happiness and whose research is founded on the application of primary-source datasets to has this to say:
“Given clean, accurate data, a researcher can look for patterns that explain human behaviour. To do this, we need:
- A desire to use data as the basis for examining research questions;
- Access to quality data, which the QUT library certainly enables;
- Technical skills in mathematics and statistics, which enable us to;
- Apply the data plus our technical skills and knowledge of the literatures to examine important research questions.
The truth is in the numbers which manifest in the data.”
If you’re a researcher, leave a comment below on your experience with data, or any tips, tricks and resources that you wished someone had shared with you!
Visit the Love Your Data blog each day for stories, resources and activities and if you would like to join the conversation or to view more, go to Twitter (#LYD17, #loveyourdata), Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.