One central element of the project is the exploration of researchers' needs regarding the curation of psychological research data. In particular, it aims at the development of a documentation standard for psychological research data that considers the discipline-specific methods generally applied for the reuse of these data.
Therefore, ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts who were interviewed on twelve topics addressing secondary data use from the perspective of a data user and data provider. Topics covered were, for instance, frequent reuse purposes, metadata needed for optimized reuse, metadata provided for upload, or metadata that researchers think should be included in a documentation standard for psychological research data.
"An important finding that can be drawn from these interviews is that researchers do not need more bibliographical metadata, but method-specific metadata", says Dr. Katarina Blask, manager of the project PsyCuraDat. "Especially, the majority of the interviewees stated that they would need a codebook, analyses and data preparation scripts, as well as something like a study protocol."
Researchers need more method-specific metadata
To get a more objective impression of researchers' needs in their role as contributors and users of research data, an online survey addressing these topics was conducted. Accordingly, the online survey was aimed at two objectives.
The first goal was to test for the reliability of the conclusions derived from the expert interviews, which addressed the same topics. The second and final goal was to get a more precise picture of researchers’ documentation needs by explicitly asking them about the perceived usefulness of metadata that are representative of psychological research methods.
The outcome: researchers need more method-specific metadata for a statistical reuse of psychological research data compared to a mere presentation purpose (e.g. illustrations in a lecture or at a conference).