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About us Collection Policy

The content profile of Research Data Centre for Education (FDZ Bildung)

Why we collect

FDZ Bildung is a service provider for empirical educational research and is committed to archiving research data from empirical educational research, and making them available to the science community for re-usage and secondary analyses. By operating its data services, FDZ Bildung moreover contributes to achieving a sustainable transparency of research processes and research outcomes.

Which Data we collect

1. Content related criteria

In the context of empirical educational research, FDZ Bildung places an emphasis on the area of school and instructional research. Qualitative approaches are focused (e.g. AV-based procedures, interviews, lesson observations) as well as quantitative approaches - assessment instruments (questionnaires, items, scales, test instruments).

Besides this content profile, the data centre endeavours to represent research findings and instruments from the areas of early childhood, higher education, and adult education in the context of lifelong learning. In this regard, not only formal learning settings are projected but also non-formal and informal learning opportunities. FDZ Bildung ultimately aims at a comprehensive coverage of empirical educational research.

Being part of a funding programme constitutes an indicator for the content-related relevance or projects and their data, and this constitutes another criterion for acceptance besides the match of a project to the content scope of FDZ Bildung. Validation of a proposal in the context of a funding programme is automatically linked to a scientific evaluation of the quality and Innovative potential of a research project or study, which ultimately led to a positive approval. A respectively high quality of a study can thus be deduced respectively assumed.

An assessment of the potential future scientific use of data from a study serves as a further criterion off acceptance challenge consists in assessing the question whether existing research data are interesting for future research questions, too. Different fundamental aspects serve to assess to a certain degree the possible future value of research data:

Is a broad database available for future research which goes beyond the relevance for a specific project?

Have the data emerged from areas which are rarely studied or difficult to access? Is there a particular historical value to the data because they are no longer reproducible? Do the data possess a specific “historical value“, because they cannot be reproduced in this way? The preservation value of research data increases if these data are the only or the most comprehensive source of relevant information for a research topic.

Are the data suitable for comparison with already documented research data? Do the data add to, or improve, information from existing datasets at FDZ Bildung or another repository and do they thus assist in filling gaps?

2. Formal criteria of acceptance

Formal criteria mostly concern the quality of project internal documentation. The archival quality of an internal project or study documentation constitutes an important starting point for further steps in a sustainable and professional documentation at FDZ Bildung according to uniform standards. FDZ Bildung principally only accepts data and instruments from completed studies (in the case of longitudinal studies, also data after completion of individual assessment waves), to ensure a good overview  of documented research data and materials and better estimate the effort. This means that for documentation purposes, all the assessment instruments and resulting data need to be available.

Moreover, one relevant condition to acceptance concerns the delivery of accompanying and contextual materials. These materials enable a comprehensive contextualisation and they are thus principally essential to rendering research data transparent and re-usable.

Indexing at FDZ Bildung moreover depends on the object type of the documented data.  FDZ Bildung predominantly documents qualitative research data and focuses on video-recorded lessons as well as teacher and student interviews and their transcripts, codings and ratings. A second priority is placed on the area of quantitative assessment instruments. This concerns the processing and making available questionnaire scales and test instruments. Acceptance by FDZ Bildung depends on documented quality criteria, which facilitate the validation of instruments and potential for re-usage. Provision of instruments is free of charge for users. Only non-commercial assessment instruments are considered.

Research data from a study can principally only be made available for secondary usage if this is legally permitted. The copyright holder must be clearly established as well as data protection conditions of a data documentation and data transfer. Otherwise, the depth of documentation and scenarios of availability might vary considerably.

Besides the listed content and formal criteria, FDZ Bildung aims at the development of further criteria for a better estimation of the suitability of research data and of their potential for re-usage.

How we collect

FDZ Bildung continually contacts the community of researchers and subject to an active engagement, it identifies relevant data pools, also by researching and monitoring completed and current projects in the area of empirical educational research.

Moreover, the research data centre processes requests for archiving. In this regard, the research data centre is potentially open to any data provider with a relevant data pool.

Following an evaluation of the material according to the listed formal and content criteria, the data are integrated into the collection at FDZ Bildung. The selection procedure is followed by an acceptance and processing of data.


Note: This policy will be reviewed periodically and updated if necessary. The last revision took place on 08.01.2018.

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