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Research Data Management Basics

This guide covers essential and practical tips for managing project data and lists contacts for getting help with data questions.

Use this guide to learn about essential research data management steps and tasks.

  1. Writing data management plans 
    • Meet funder mandates and plan a project.DataOne Data Life Cycle
    • Use the DMPTool to help you build your data management plan.
  2. Organizing & naming files 
    • Use structured naming and organizing guidelines.
  3. Documenting data 
    • Create readme files, codebooks, data dictionaries, lab notebooks, metadata, and related forms of documentation.
  4. Storing & backing up your work
    • Learn about recommended practices for proper and reliable storage, access, and security. 
  5. Archiving & sharing research results
    • Share your work in widely indexed and reliable research repositories.                                            
    • Access the Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS) and Dataverse, institutional research repositories available to George Mason researchers.

In-depth Information

Related Data Management Guides and Handouts

Data Citation Data Syntax and Organization
Open Science Framework (OSF) SPSS: Managing Data
Spreadsheets SPSS: Data Mangement Syntax
Working with Data Stata for Theses


The University Libraries provides services, resources, and expertise to help you throughout your research process. Whether you need help with locating information, project planning, managing data, or collaborating, sharing, preserving, and publishing, we're here to help.

  • Advice and feedback on data management / data management and sharing plans and interpreting agency data sharing requirements.
  • Using our Repository Services for sharing your final data.
    • We can also help you identify appropriate research repositories to deposit your final data.
  • Facilitating access to and providing support for data and project management platforms such as the Open Science Framework.
  • Teaching workshops on data topics, foundational computing and data science skills for classes, labs, and research groups.

See our Research Support page which describes the variety of services we offer to support research or e-mail

Additional information is provided on the Get Help page of this guide.