"Objectivity is a basic principle of scientific investigation. It is not easy, even for people with the best intentions to acquire, process and report data in an unbiased way, but that is the goal to which scientists aspire. Skill at avoiding bias comes with experience, but depends mainly on understanding the goal and carefully thinking through how to achieve it."
- Eastern Michigan University Graduate Studies & Research


Data are the foundation of research and science. As such, their integrity is paramount. Designing experiments that create meaningful and unbiased data, and that do not waste resources and protect human and animal subjects, is the first step in good data management. Once an appropriate research topic is determined, proper data collection, retention, and sharing are vital to the research enterprise. If data are not recorded in a fashion that allows others to validate findings, results can be called into question. But there are some circumstances in which data need to be protected and not shared, such as with new inventions, protecting the confidentiality of human research subjects, and topics with national-security repercussions. Who actually owns data collected in an academic environment in a research project funded by the federal government is another issue often subject to misunderstanding. This module considers what researchers must face as they address data management during their investigations. Review Learning Objectives

Next: Proceed to a series of "Challenge Questions" that will test your understanding of Data Acquisition and Management or go on to the next section.

Answer Challenge Questions | Next: → Case Study