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Dataset Preparation

Prepare your dataset by inventorying and reviewing the contents to ensure that you are providing the data in the most useful and sustainable form as possible:

File Organization

See U Gent’s short (5:42) video, “Knowledge Clip: Keeping research data organized”:

Key Ethical Considerations

Essential Tasks

Survey your Data

Tidy your Data1

Strengthen your Data

Examine files, organization, and documentation:

Tasks based on Format

Tasks vary based on file formats and subject domain. Sample tasks based on format:

Tabular Data (e.g, Microsoft Excel) Questions

Database(s) Questions

Code Questions

Data Visualization Questions


To view additional steps based on format, view the following primers created by the Data Curation Network (DCN):


Tidy Data varies depending on sources and other aspects of inquiry. Tidy Data is not meant to erase or flatten historically complex data, rather it is the process by which this data becomes more usable for investigation and understanding through research.