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Data Management for Wits: Basic checklists

The following is general advice,data varies hugely between types of research and projects.

If this is all making your head spin JUST answer the questions below

To prevent data loss and version control issues that can derail your degree, think through the following issues.

  • What type of data is being produced in what file formats ie a text document?
  • What are you backing up?
  • How will you organize yourself and your work  ie  file naming conventions between you and your supervisors
  • Do you need data identifiers, is the data large, likely to get confused or confidential what happens if your laptop dies? what happens if you the software expires.
  • Are you doing ethics? if so INCLUDE everyone who looks at the data like an examiner in your consent forms
  • What your  PRACTICAL plan for doing all the stuff you said you would in your ethics
  • Are the data properly described (meta-data) and the overall project documented? Your proposal might be insufficiently detailed if it was written before data collection started.
  • What happens to the data at the end( hint give it to the library).


Depending on the discipline, the nature of a project, and the funding agency, every data management plan is unique.
Feel free to download the following template to guide you when writing your plan But know that it might not cover your specific circumstances.

Guidelines for Effective Data management Plans

Many federal funding agencies, including NIH and most recently NSF, are requiring that grant applications contain data management plans for projects involving data collection. To support researchers in meeting this requirement, CPSR is providing guidance on creating such plans.