To be realistic, making one’s data ready for secondary analysis by those who did not take part in the original research project requires some time and effort. Analysts of secondary data should have at their disposal all the information needed to make effective and appropriate use of the data that you supply. This means that your data files must be clean, clear, and fully interpretable, with adequate supplementary documentation that explains your data, methods, assumptions, and also any weaknesses of your research.
Below are links to specific instructions and guidelines that you may find useful:
Documenting and preparing your quantitative data with pdf version
Documenting and preparing your qualititative data with pdf version
Submitting your data
Once you have prepared your data file, instruments, materials, and documentation, you can send these all at once to DARIS by e-mail. If the electronic files are too large, other arrangements can be made (e.g., to use FTP, to send by mail by DVD).
In many cases, data and documentation are delivered to DARIS at the end of a research project, and the data are generally accessible to users soon after. In some cases, however, producers of data elect to place their data under embargo, which means that while their data are preserved at Daris, they are not accessible to users for a pre-defined period, which can be negociated in advance.
A few tips
The level of effort involved in the process of documentation and preparation of data can be significantly reduced with sufficient planning and foresight. Here are a few specific ways to make the process less cumbersome:
- First, preparation should begin at project conception — if possible, consider at the proposal stage what will be the costs of documentation in terms of time and effort. Funding agencies, including the Swiss National Science Foundation, generally allow and expect such costs to be included in grant proposals.
- Assign responsibility of the documentation process early on to a particular person who will be involved in the entire research life cycle.
- Most importantly, start the process at the beginning of the study, including documentation of the study purpose and design, to be integrated later into a methodology report. Don’t risk waiting until the end of the research project to do documentation – chances are it will not get done!
- Consult with DARIS staff. We are available to help you in the process.