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Research Guides

Research Data Management: Create a Data Profile

What is a data profile?

Thinking about the characteristics of your dataset will help you create an appropriate data management plan.

A data profile can be as simple as answering a set of questions about your data, covering things such as data format, size of the data set, and potential for reuse.

Basic Data Profile Questions

  1. What is the context of your dataset?  (Why, how, and where is it collected, and by whom?)
  2. What format are the data in?  (e.g., handwritten lab notebook, TIFF or CSV files, etc.)
  3. What size is the dataset? What rate does it grow at?
  4. What is the expected lifespan of the dataset?  (How long might the data still be useful?)
  5. How is the data used, and how could it be reused/repurposed?
  6. Who are the potential audiences for the data?
  7. Who owns the data?
  8. Does the dataset contain sensitive information?  If so, who should access be restricted to?
  9. Are there any difficulties you currently have with your dataset, and what are your highest priorities for managing it?


Adapted from Witt, Michael and Carlson, Jake R., "Conducting a Data Interview" (2007). Libraries Research Publications. Paper 81.