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New England College of Optometry Logo LIBRARY

Research: Data 101

Data 101

What is Data?

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines data as “recorded factual material accessible to other researchers so they can validate those findings.” The NIH emphasizes the validity of data and data sharing. Read the NIH statement on sharing research data.

The NIH and National Science Foundation (NSF) define data as products of research that are heterogeneous and contextualized within different academic disciplines. The NSF emphasizes the community value of data rather than just the value of data to the individual.

Data can include:

  • numeric or tabular data (quantitative)
  • samples
  • publications
  • physical collections
  • software programs/code
  • databases
  • algorithms
  • models
  • geodatabases, etc.

 

 

Background data is contextual information for the primary foreground data collected for analysis. It can include:

  • questionnaires
  • code books
  • descriptions of methodologies
 

Metadata is data about data. It is information that describes, explains or locates other data. It helps you to more easily retrieve, use or manage your data. The bare minimum metadata you should include with your data are:

  • who created the data
  • when the data were created
  • a title or descriptive name for dataset
  • a unique and persistent identifier for location

DIRECTOR OF LIBRARY SERVICES

Heather Edmonds, MLIS

617-587-5579
edmondsh@neco.edu

 




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