Harmonizing the data collection and data entry applications for longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys in social science: a metadata driven approach

Benjamin D. Clark, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

This paper emphasizes the necessity to take into account life cycle of data throughout the various stages of a survey based research project. Applying this to the case of longitudinal and cross-sectional survey research, we provide a framework for thinking of data documentation as an integral component of the whole process- facilitating each subsequent stage of a research design, data collection, capture and extraction. The data life cycle approach is laid out as the conceptual basis of thinking about survey design. We criticize the general textbook style approach on survey methodology for viewing important task of converting the collected information into computerized data at the culmination of a research project as an necessary (but bothersome) step before starting the analysis. But not as something that should be harmonized with the previous stages in the life cycle. Here, we propose an alternative harmonized, systematic and metadata driven approach to survey research.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Contexts