This is the in-progress version of Data Management in Large-Scale Education Research. When completed, this book will be published by CRC Press. To see a previous version of this material, please visit this website.



Book key features

This book includes the following key features:

  • Provides a holistic approach to the research life cycle, showing how project management and data management processes work in parallel and collaboratively
  • Can be read in its entirety, as well as referenced as needed throughout the life cycle
  • Includes relatable examples specific to education research
  • Includes a discussion on how to organize and document data in preparation for data sharing requirements
  • Contains links to example documents as well as templates to help readers implement practices

About the author

I am a freelance research data management consultant and trainer (cghlewis.com). I have a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. My experience spans the research life cycle including collecting, curating, sharing, and analyzing data, particularly for studies funded by federal grants. I am happiest working at the intersection of education research and data management planning, helping researchers build and implement organized processes that lead to more secure, reliable, and usable data. I am a co-organizer for two community groups—R-Ladies St. Louis, an organization focused on promoting gender diversity in the R community, as well as the POWER (providing women opportunities in education research) data management hub, where I facilitate peer data management support in the education research community.


This book is a compilation of lessons I have learned in my personal experiences as a data manager, knowledge collected from existing books and papers (many written by librarians or those involved in the open science movement), as well as advice and stories collected through interviews with other researchers who work with data. I want to be clear that I did not formally study research data management, unlike research data librarians who are experts in this content. Much of this book will be based off of lessons learned from firsthand experience and this book is my attempt to hopefully save others from making the same mistakes I have personally made or seen others make. I can not emphasize enough that if you work for a university and you have the opportunity to consult with a librarian for your project, you absolutely should!

With that said, there is a long list of people I would like to acknowledge for their contributions to this book and for supporting me in this process.

There were many people who graciously allowed me to interview them about their current data management practices. They are Mary McCraken, Ryan Estrellado, Kim Manturuk, Beth Chance, Jessica Logan, Rebecca Schmidt, Sara Hart, and Kerry Shea. These interviews were integral to supplementing my personal knowledge with the broader experience of others in the field. Yet, they affirmed that yes, data management is hard, especially in the context of some of the complicated study designs we work with in education research, and that everyone who works in this field wishes that better training, support systems, and standards existed. Thank you to everyone who gave me an hour of their time to share their experiences and knowledge! I also have to give a special thank you to Jessica Logan for being the first person I met who appreciates all things data management as much as I do, and since having our interview, has provided invaluable support while working on this book.

I also want to thank everyone who took the time to read and provide feedback on chapters of this book for me. This includes Meghan Harris, Alexis Swanz, Allyson Hanson, Rohan Alexander, Peter Higgins, Emily Riederer, Priyanka Gagneja, Jennifer Huck, Danielle Pico, Kristin Briney, Hope Lancaster, Gizem Solmaz-Ratzlaff, Crystal Steltenpohl, Leigh McLean, Jessica Logan, Chris Schatschneider, Tara Reynolds, and Kerry Shea. Your revisions and insight helped make this a more cohesive and useful book!

A special thank you to Keith Herman as well. Many years ago he suggested I write a book titled Data Management in Large-Scale Education Research, which at the time seemed unimaginable to me. Thank you to Keith for believing I could do something I didn’t even know was possible.

Much appreciation to Wendy Reinke as well. Joining a project where she had already created documentation and tracking systems was my first glimpse into building tools that help you manage data and my love of research data management grew out of this experience.

I want to say thank you to the POWER Data Management Issues in Education Research Hub. Regularly meeting with this group of data managers, researchers, students, and professors over the last two years has been an amazing source of both support and learning and has greatly increased my understanding of data management.

Last, thank you to Josh for fully supporting me in the decision to write this book and to Fox for being the reason I remember to step away from my computer from time to time and have fun.