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Two Data Management Plan Sources for Faculty

Editor's Note: Last month we looked at data management tools available in the Texas Tech Library. This month we provide information about two other data management sources on campus. Information in this article is provided by Todd Little, director of the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis and Policy.

The Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis, and Policy (IMMAP) at Texas Tech is dedicated to training students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in state-of-the-science methodology and data analysis and providing best-practice support to students, staff, and faculty in the conduct of their research. These pages provide a portal to our quantitative training and support resources.

Two resources are available to help with data management plans when original empirical research and HIPPA compliance are at issue DatStat, which involves a fee for usage and REDCap, which is free. Below are two descriptions IMMAP uses in grants.

Data Collection and Description
Data will be collected and managed using DatStat (DatStat Illume and DatStat Discovery), a robust software platform capable of managing and analyzing data from complex longitudinal studies and developing online surveys. DatStat offers a dynamic online and research management system that meets the requirements of this project, which include Institutional Review Board compliance for data security and the ability to run surveys in both online and offline modes (Illume). The database also has an efficient feature designed to support real-time data entry validation and flexible data export to common statistical packages such as SPSS, SAS, Stata, R/S-Plus. The Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis and Policy (IMMAP) at Texas Tech University maintains a license and service agreement that involves the product (DatStat Illume and Discovery), installation, training, upgrades and patches, and technical assistance.

Data Submission, Storage, and Access
DatStat builds forms from a user-created data dictionary that is created in Excel. It is important to group variables together that will facilitate the data entry process. Files will be stored and available both in original format and in DatStat. Research partners are granted access to DatStat by creating a username and password that allow them to login to the database at their convenience. To ensure ongoing security of the data generated by this project, backup folders that contain a complete copy of materials are created and stored independently.

Data Format
The project data will be distributed into separate datasets within a relational database. Each dataset will be stored in eight different formats to increase portability of the data: two plain text formats (comma-delimited ASCII, tab-delimited ASCII), one EXCEL format (XLSX), two SAS formats (XPORT, CPORT), two SPSS formats (SAV, POR), and one STATA format (DTA).

Data Documentation
A documentation guide to all extant data will identify the type of data, the date of collection, the total number of data fields, the masked individual participant code, and the data format and any needed extraction procedure.

Type of Data to be Shared
Results of the research will be shared in conference proceedings and peer-reviewed journal articles. A password-protected ‘minimal’ copy of the educational and research data will be made available for use by external researchers as soon as completed. The ‘minimal’ data include the data analyzed for our research with related methods and any additional data required to replicate our research findings; but exclude any information that is personally identifiable (personal data).

Procedures for Maintaining the Confidentiality of the Data to be Shared
Access to the project data will be managed by the data steward who will, in compliance with established project guidelines, provide copies of the data to external researchers when a valid request has been made. The data steward does all it can to assure that the identity of the project participants cannot be disclosed. All direct identifiers, as well as any characteristics that might lead to identification, are omitted or modified in the copies to protect the true characteristics of individual participants. The data steward will process all valid data requests until 2028. After this date is reached, all remaining copies of the data set will be destroyed following established University policies and procedures to ensure security of the data set.

Method of Data Access
A request for a copy of the data may be made to the data steward who will then require the requester to complete a data request log that includes the type and format of the data needed, its intended use, and the ways in which the data will be protected when used and stored elsewhere. Data users must agree to the following terms:
  • The data may be used only for statistical purposes.
  • Any effort to determine the identity of any project participant will be a violation of this agreement.
  • Make no use of the identity of any person or institution discovered inadvertently, and advise the data steward of any such discovery.
  • The data collected for this project are subject to the Common Rule for Human Subjects.
  • To proceed, you must signify your agreement to comply with the above-stated requirements. Users will be required to agree to the terms before access to the data will be made available.
Data Collection and Description
Data will be collected and managed using REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture), a secure electronic data capture tool which provides a user-friendly and intuitive web-based interface for data entry. REDCap uses study-specific data dictionaries for data collection projects and allows a thorough and organized collection strategy. The database also has an efficient feature designed to support real-time data entry validation and flexible data export to common statistical packages such as SPSS, SAS, Stata, R/S-Plus. The database is hosted at Texas Tech University, which will serve as the central location for data processing and management.

To request access to the TTU REDCap service, visit www.evaluate.ttu.edu. On your first visit, you will request access to the service and on subsequent visits you may utilize the tool. More information about REDCap and several tutorial videos can be found at http://projectredcap.org. For additional information, please contact IT Help Central at http://ithelpcentral.ttu.edu or (806) 742-4357 (HELP).