Research data management needs assessment for social sciences graduate students: A mixed methods study. Academic Article uri icon


  • The complexity and privacy issues inherent in social science research data makes research data management (RDM) an essential skill for future researchers. Data management training has not fully addressed the needs of graduate students in the social sciences. To address this gap, this study used a mixed methods design to investigate the RDM awareness, preparation, confidence, and challenges of social science graduate students. A survey measuring RDM preparedness and training needs was completed by 98 graduate students in a school of education at a research university in the southern United States. Then, interviews exploring data awareness, knowledge of RDM, and challenges related to RDM were conducted with 10 randomly selected graduate students. All participants had low confidence in using RDM, but United States citizens had higher confidence than international graduate students. Most participants were not aware of on-campus RDM services, and were not familiar with data repositories or data sharing. Training needs identified for social science graduate students included support with data documentation and organization when collaborating, using naming procedures to track versions, data analysis using open access software, and data preservation and security. These findings are significant in highlighting the topics to cover in RDM training for social science graduate students. Additionally, RDM confidence and preparation differ between populations so being aware of the backgrounds of students taking the training will be essential for designing student-centered instruction.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 17.562

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, X., Xu, Z., & Kogut, A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Xuan||Xu, Zhihong||Kogut, Ashlynn

editor list (cited editors)

  • Khraisat, O. M.

publication date

  • January 2023