Thursday, September 4, 2014

Boring but Essential: Good Recording Keeping in Fieldwork / Data Collection

Microsoft Office Excel 2007
Microsoft Office Excel 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Nick Hopwood:

Fieldwork is a messy, complex, unpredictable process.

All the more important, then, that your record keeping and approach to managing your data is clean, systematic, and enables cross-referencing and a clear audit trail.

I have made a video, available in small file size (86MB) and one full file size (500MB) which explains one approach to doing this using Excel.

I illustrate some important points and offer a range of tips by showing what I did in my recent project in Karitane, which involved multiple observations, documents and photographs.

My point is not that others should replicate my approach. But that it is helpful to replicate the thinking and the outcomes in terms of asking: what information do I need to keep track of relating to each piece of data? What indexing and file naming practices do I need to make cross referencing later on?

I have developed a pdf guide to accompany the videos, which you should be able to download by saving the link below.

I hope this is useful. I would really like it if people can add comments as to how they approach this dull, but crucial aspect of social science research!

Data database guide

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