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Data Management Plans

This guide provides resources to assist WSU faculty members and students who are creating strategies for storing, describing, and providing access to their research data.

Questions to Consider

As you are preparing your data management plan, consider the types of data you will produce during the research project. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make decisions about data documentation methods, storage, description, and sharing. (Note that these questions have been adapted from the Cornell Research Data Management Service Group.)

  • What type of data will you generate? Define your exact variable measurements and units. Will you collect confounding variables?
  • How much data do you anticipate will be generated over the course of the project?
  • Which data will you share and at what stage?
  • Why will your data be of interest to a broader community and how will you maximize potential for reuse?
  • If you are using data from other sources, what is your source, content, and any conditions required for obtaining and using that data?
  • What is the relationship between your data sets?


Our friends at NCSU Libraries have prepared the following list of sample data type statements that could be included in a data management plan. Some of these may prove helpful in thinking through your own project.

  • "The associated data types will be captured using X survey software and analyzed using X data analytics tool."
  • "Over the course of the project, data will be collected and entered into two relational databases."
  • "Over the course of the project, data will be generated from sensors and recorded in X format."
  • "This project will produce public-use nationally representative survey data for the United States covering Americans' social backgrounds, enduring political predispositions, social and political values, perceptions and evaluations of groups and candidates, opinions on questions of public policy, and participation in political life."
  • "This project will generate data designed to study the prevalence and correlates of DSM III-R psychiatric disorders and patterns and correlates of service utilization for these disorders in a nationally representative sample of over 8000 respondents. The sensitive nature of these data will require that the data be released through a restricted use contract."
  • "Few datasets exist that focus on this population in the United States and how their attitudes toward assimilation differ from those of others. The primary resource on this population, [give dataset title here], is inadequate because..."
  • "Data have been collected on this topic previously (for example: [add example(s)]). The data collected as part of this project reflect the current time period and historical context. It is possible that several of these datasets, including the data collected here, could be combined to better understand how social processes have unfolded over time."
  • "For quantitative data files, the [repository] ensures that missing data codes are defined, that actual data values fall within the range of expected values and that the data are free from wild codes. Processed data files are reviewed by a supervisory staff member before release."
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