Skip to main content

Research Data Management: Introduction

A summary of services available for research data management at the University of Lethbridge.

What is Research Data Management, and why should you care?

Research Data Management, or RDM as you will often see it referred to, is simply managing and organizing the data that is generated as a result of your research throughout the entire research life cycle. You certainly have some form of RDM already; this guide is intended to relate current best practices and assist you in taking what you are already doing to the next level.

Why should  you care?
- you can better find and recognize your data both during and after your research - especially if team members come and go
- your funder may require that you have a Data Management Plan and/or that you deposit your data in a repository once the research is complete
- by depositing that data, you are contributing to open science - the ability for others to potentially reuse your data, or replicate your study

Overall, RDM is just good practice!

Remember, Data can be widely defined and can include everything from massive SPSS files, to photographs, to handwritten field notes, to an excel spreadsheet... and far, far more! Basically anything you generate in the process of research. The Tri-Agency RDM Policy FAQ defines it::

  1. What are data?

    Data are facts, measurements, recordings, records, or observations about the world collected by researchers and others, with a minimum of contextual interpretation. Data may be in any format or medium taking the form of writings, notes, numbers, symbols, text, images, films, video, sound recordings, pictorial reproductions, drawings, designs or other graphical representations, procedural manuals, forms, diagrams, work flow charts, equipment descriptions, data files, data processing algorithms, or statistical records.Footnote 1

  2. What are research data?

    Research data are data that are used as primary sources to support technical or scientific enquiry, research, scholarship, or artistic activity, and that are used as evidence in the research process and/or are commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to validate research findings and results. All other digital and non-digital content have the potential of becoming research data. Research data may be experimental data, observational data, operational data, third party data, public sector data, monitoring data, processed data, or repurposed data

Did you know?

The Canadian Tri-Council Funding Agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) have coordinated requirements for research data management (RDM) resulting from publicly-funded research and to make such research data openly accessible. The Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management was issued in mid-June 2016 and consultations about the final Statement have been ongoing.

For any advice or assistance meeting your research data management requirements, please feel free to contact your subject liaison librarian.

Why bother? Maybe this short video will explain why!

Right now in Canada, the vast majority of research data is being lost. For example, a study of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded research projects found that only 3 out of 110 studies had archived their data in a repository, and those 3 were all housed in the US? [Source:  CARL. CARL. Research data: Unseen opportunities, 2009.]

Source:  Hanson, K., Surkis, A., & Yacobucci, K. (2012, December 12). Data sharing and management snafu in 3 short acts [Video file].  NYU Health Sciences Libraries.  Retrieved from:  https://youtu.be/N2zK3sAtr-4

Library Help

Research Help Desk

During the Research Help Desk open hours, you can Ask Us a question via IM, email, or text message.

Instant Message: Click Here
Email: Click Here
Phone: 403.329.2263
Ph. (toll free): 877.382.7113
Text: 780.666.4622

Get help In Person by visiting Research Help, Located on Level 10 in the Library.

Library Hours

Key Canadian Resources