Allocating Research Resources

The Role of a Data Management Core Unit

by Daniel A. Relles

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A Data Management and Statistical Services (DMSS) core unit within RAND's Population Research Center performs common functions including: database management review, specialized programming, support for data acquisition, and statistical consulting. In fitting the DMSS unit's services to RAND's organizational setting and particular project needs, a model of this unit's functions has evolved that both enhances scientific quality and promotes further efficiencies. This model — and lessons learned in implementing it — may interest those who direct or administer other population research centers. This Note describes the model's rationale and key features; reviews the problems in doing research with large datasets; identifies the different types of researchers typically involved in a data-intensive research project and the analytic steps each type performs; describes an efficient allocation of research talent across these tasks; and considers how the Center's DMSS unit fosters that allocation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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