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Knowledge and Practice Changes Following a Student Data-Focused Data Management Education Program
journal contributionposted on 2022-04-01, 16:02 authored by Tina GriffinTina Griffin
Introduction: It is known that graduate students work with research data more intimately than their faculty mentors. Because of this, much data management education is geared toward this population. However, student learning has predominantly been assessed through measures of satisfaction and attendance rather than through evaluating knowledge and skills acquired. This study attempts to advance assessment efforts by asking students to report their knowledge and practice changes before, immediately after, and 6 months following education. Method: Graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and health science disciplines self-enrolled in an 8-week pilot data management program that used their research projects as the focus for learning. Three surveys were administered (pre-, post-, and 6 months following) to determine changes in students’ knowledge and practices regarding data management skills through self-assessment. The survey consisted of approximately 115 Likert-style questions and covered major aspects of the data life cycle. Results and Discussion: Overall, students increased their data management knowledge and improved their skills in all areas of the data life cycle. Students readily adopted practices for straightforward tasks such as determining storage and improving file naming. Students improved in but struggled with tasks that were more involved, such as sharing data and documenting code. For most of these practices, students consistently implemented them through the 6-month follow-up period. Conclusion: Impact of data management education lasts significantly beyond immediate instruction. In-depth assessment of student knowledge and practices indicates in which areas this education is effective and in which areas it needs further support. It is likely that this effect is due to the program length and focus on implementation.