Shared work files
When several people collaborate on the same data material in a research project, it is crucial to keep the material organised with rules for folder names, file names, and file versioning, and good documentation. Variables can be changed, added to, and removed from the data material, and so can codes and markup in material processed with qualitative analysis methods.
In order to avoid confusion, disorder, and possibly faulty analyses, you may want to work with a single, common version of the data, which is stored with write-protection and accessible only to one or a small number of people in the research group. They administer the data you are working with, and are responsible for correcting errors, adding new variables, updating codes etc. Their responsibility also includes documenting the versions that are created. This way, the group will have better control over which version of the data is being analysed, and it makes it easier to recreate analyses. Having a common version of the data will also lead to a smoother process of preparing the project for archiving and access for reuse in later research. If you have a data management plan, remember to update it whenever changes are made to the data material.
In a project where several people work with the same data material, you want to have:
- a clear division of responsibilities
- rules for documentation, folder structure, file names, and versioning
- a file storage solution which is accessible for all authorised parties.