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This is the first in a series of articles reporting on a study of researcher data management practices and data services at the University of Vermont.

The objective of this article is to report on the first qualitative phase of an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design focused on researcher data management practices and related institutional research data services. The aim of this study is to understand data management behaviors of faculty at the University of Vermont (UVM), a higher-research activity Research University, in order to guide the development of campus research data management services. The population of study was all faculty who received National Science Foundation (NSF) grants between 2011 and 2014 who were required to submit a data management plan (DMP); qualitative data was collected in two forms: (1) semi-structured interviews and (2) document analysis of data management plans. From a population of 47 researchers, six were included in the interview sample, representing a broad range of disciplines and NSF Directorates, and 35 data management plans were analyzed. Three major themes were identified through triangulation of qualitative data sources: data management activities, including data dissemination and data sharing; institutional research support and infrastructure barriers; and perceptions of data management plans and attitudes towards data management planning. The themes articulated in this article will be used to design a survey for the second quantitative phase of the study, which will aim to more broadly generalize data management activities at UVM across all disciplines.


data management, mixed methods research, qualitative research, research data services, academic libraries, interview, document analysis


The author thanks UVM faculty colleagues Bernice Garnett, assistant professor, Department of Education, Jason Parker, assistant research professor, Department of Plant & Soil Science, and Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, professor, Department of Education, for their advice and feedback at multiple stages of this study.

Corresponding Author

Elizabeth A. Berman, MLIS, MS, Assistant Director for Research and Instruction, Tisch Library, Tufts University, elizabeth.berman@tufts.edu

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Copyright Berman © 2017.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Figure1_1097.jpeg (491 kB)
Figure 1. Exploratory sequential mixed methods research design

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Figure 2. Population of qualitative research by school or department

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Figure 3. Sample qualitative coding structure for data management activities (RQ1)

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Figure 4. Sample qualitative coding concept map for data sharing

AppendixA_1097.pdf (690 kB)
Appendix A. Pre-interview questionnaire

AppendixB_1097.pdf (602 kB)
Appendix B.Semi-structured interview script



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