- You may want to access existing data for a number reasons: to verify known issues, to identify issues that have not yet been discovered or to establish a baseline for your own project.
- Identifying datasets that are relevant to your project can take some time, so it is important to find sources pertinent to your research in the early stages. Contact the Sustainability Service for more information on available datasets at the University of Leeds.
- You might also want to access datasets from outside the University in order to provide greater insight or broader context e.g. data about Leeds. Contact the Sustainability Service for more information about external datasets.
- You might also want to access data sources from private organisations and companies. This data might be harder to access, and this can be a more complicated and time-consuming process. In some instances, a partnership agreement may be needed in order to access and use this kind of data under specified conditions.
To achieve the aims of your project you may need to generate new data. If you are student this is something that should be discussed with your supervisor/s. Depending on your research focus and your discipline, a wide range of methods can be used to gather or generate data including observation, surveys, focus groups, interviews, digital tracking approaches and more. Data includes everything from laboratory results to field notebooks to photographs!
It is useful to manage your research data properly and good data management will benefit your project and future researchers. The University has a lot of information and advice regarding research data management which might be helpful and can be found here.
(This has been adapted from the University of Edinburgh Living Lab and Edinburgh Living Lab toolkit prepared by Liz Cooper, Catherine Magill and Ewan Klein)