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Closing out the Spring 2017 semester, we're nudging you to take a little bit of time to review and wrap up your work by focusing on your data documentation.

 
   
 
 

 Documentation content

Documentation should be:

  • Enough information,
  • about the project, methods, and materials
  • such that the information is maintainable over time,
  • in an accessible format,
  • and valuable for those who need it.
 
   
 
 

Two common documentation formats

  • README files provide basic information about a dataset.
  • Data Dictionaries/Codebooks provide a detailed description of each element or variable in a dataset.
 
   
 
 

Ready for lightning documentation?

Use this data documentation README template to get you started. Take just 3 minutes and fill out as much as possible for a project that you consider important (e.g. supports a recent publication, your thesis, a grant application, etc.). If you're on a roll, keep adding more! Your future self will be grateful for your documentation file.

You can also check out our Data Documentation Materials, which include data documentation guidelines and a handout that will guide you step-by-step in sketching out your documentation.

 
   
 
 

Looking to share your research data?

Check out the Illinois Data Bank!

 
   
 
 

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