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3. Data Life Cycle

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3.3.2 Collection

Data collection has greatly evolved during recent years. With new information technology advancements, sophisticated electronic data entry devices are replacing traditional tools and paper forms. Furthermore, tasks that used to take months to complete are currently being executed in record time as a result of the improved capabilities of computer systems.

Before going ahead with data collection, the following should be given consideration:

What? Identification of variables to be measured, nature & format of data, litterature review, analysis of existing/published data, sampling plan, experimental protocols, documentation;

When? Temporal coverage of the project, frequency of measurements/observations, work schedules;

Where? Spatial coverage of the project, sampling sites, sensor networks, laboratory spaces;

How much? Assessment of data volume to be produced and required archiving space;

How? Type of measurements/observations (in the field, at sea), laboratory experimentation and simulations, equipment, procedures, data entry protocols, calibration, quality control/assurance processes;

Who? Participants/staff: availability, skills, training. Data users: needs.