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What are research data?

Research data are defined as the evidence on which academic researchers build their analytic or other work (HEFCE 2008).

Research data are collected, observed or created, for the purposes of analysis to produce and validate original research results

Data can take many forms

  • Still images, video and audio
  • Survey results and interview transcripts
  • Experimental observations
  • Text corpuses
  • Notebooks and lab books
  • Models and software
  • Can be created in a digital form
  • Can be analogue that is converted to a digital form

The data lifecycle

The data lifecycle can extend well beyond the boundaries of a research project. From early planning stages to the long term storage of data and its reuse by others in the research community, there are discrete phases in the research data management cycle.

External guidance on research data

The UK Data Archive provides a very useful explanation of research data management activities at each stage of the research lifecycle.

Contact the Library Research Support team