This is the second in a series of articles reporting on a study of researcher data management practices and data services at the University of Vermont.
This article reports on the second quantitative phase of an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design focused on researcher data management practices and related institutional support and services. The study aims to understand data management activities and challenges of faculty at the University of Vermont (UVM), a higher research activity Research University, in order to develop appropriate research data services (RDS). Data was collected via a survey, built on themes from the initial qualitative data analysis from the first phase of this study. The survey was distributed to a nonrandom census sample of full-time UVM faculty and researchers (P=1,190); from this population, a total of 319 participants completed the survey for a 26.8% response rate. The survey collected information on five dimensions of data management: data management activities; data management plans; data management challenges; data management support; and attitudes and behaviors towards data management planning. Frequencies, cross tabulations, and chi-square tests of independence were calculated using demographic variables including gender, rank, college, and discipline. Results from the analysis provide a snapshot of research data management activities at UVM, including types of data collected, use of metadata, short- and long-term storage of data, and data sharing practices. The survey identified key challenges to data management, including data description (metadata) and sharing data with others; this latter challenge is particular impacted by confidentiality issues and lack of time, personnel, and infrastructure to make data available. Faculty also provided insight to RDS that they think UVM should support, as well as RDS they were personally interested in. Data from this study will be integrated with data from the first qualitative phase of the research project and analyzed for meta-inferences to help determine future research data services at UVM.
data management, mixed methods research, quantitative research, research data services, academic libraries, survey
The author thanks UVM faculty colleagues Bernice Garnett, assistant professor, Department of Education, Jason Parker, assistant research professor, Department of Plant & Soil Science, and Alan Howard, Director of the Statistical Consulting Clinic, for their advice and feedback at multiple stages of this study.
Berman, Elizabeth A.. 2017. "An Exploratory Sequential Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding Researchers’ Data Management Practices at UVM: Findings from the Quantitative Phase." Journal of eScience Librarianship 6(1): e1098. https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2017.1098
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Figure 1: Data Lifecycle Model (DDI Alliance Structural Reform Group 2004)
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Figure 2: Exploratory sequential mixed methods research design
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Figure 3: Survey branching logic flowchart and number of respondents
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Figure 4: Q2. Which of the following best describe the types of data you have produced, or anticipate producing, as part of your research? Please choose all that apply. (N=276)
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Figure 5: Q13. How often do you share your digital data with others (outside your research team) using the following methods (always, often, sometimes, rarely, never)? (N=208)
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Figure 6: Q14. Please indicate how much each of the following factors limits the sharing of your research data (outside of your research team). (N=199)
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Figure 7: Q33. How easy or difficult is each of the following activities with regard to managing your UVM research data? (N=191)
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Figure 8: Q23. Please select the top three challenges you faced in preparing your DMP. (N=61)
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Figure 9: Q39. How important do you think it is for UVM to spend resources on providing the following services? (N=185)
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Figure 10: Q40. Would you be interested in any of the following data management support activities? (N=192)
Appendix_1098.pdf (976 kB)
Appendix: Survey instrument