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Data Management Plans: Types of Data

Use this guide to develop a Data Management Plan for your research. This is required by U.S. funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Type of Data Produced

Data Management Plans typically provide a short description of the data, including amount (if known) and content. Note if the project will be collecting data of a sensitive nature. Data types could include text, spreadsheets, images, 3D models, software, audio files, video files, reports, surveys, patient records, etc.

Consider these questions:

  • What data will be generated in the research?
  • What data types will you be creating or capturing?
  • Who will be responsible for managing the data?
  • How will you capture or create the data?
  • If you will be using existing data, state that fact and include where you got it.
  • What is the relationship between the data you are collecting and the existing data?

What is Data?

Data, a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn, can take many forms. Here are a few examples of the digital data forms and common file formats:

  • Text (e.g. doc, txt, pdf)
  • Numerical (e.g. SPSS, STATA, .xls, Access, MySQL)
  • Multimedia (e.g. jpeg, tiff, wav, mpeg, quicktime)
  • Models (e.g. 3D, statistical)
  • Software (e.g. Java, C)
  • Domain-specific (e.g. FITS in astronomy, CIF in chemistry)
  • Instrument-specific (e.g. Olympus Confocal Microscope Data Format)