One Bird in the Hand ...: The Local Organization of Surveys and Qualitative Data
Keywords:documentation, primary data archive, work-flow organization, meta-database, secondary analysis
In many organizations, and among many researchers, there is considerable resistance to the systematic large scale storage of survey data. Thereby, not only data storage but also work-flow organization and documentation are often left to the individual researcher. Such practice leads to inefficiencies due to a lack of positive specialization effects and to problems in traceability due to the existence of small-scale ad hoc solutions. I propose small scale solutions with survey data archives for individual institutes, projects or researchers that not only support comprehensive documentation but also raise awareness on survey-based projects' complexity and the resulting high demands for information. The proposed small scale solutions must adhere to common standards and need to be attractive for the user in order to motivate application. Attractiveness increases with elements like master-detail interfaces and tree-views that provide the user with immediate overviews and by a structure that allows for simultaneous work-flow organization and meta-data entry. The meta-database SuPER is described as a paradigmatic example of how a database could reflect the complexity of a survey data-based research project.
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Copyright (c) 2014 Anne Margarian
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