Reviews the information accrual processes in social science experiments. Stress is placed on the need for systematic, organized, and well documented accrual processes. These processes are illustrated by a hypothetical experiment that comprises four years of collected data and three different population samples. This illustration points out that retaining a maximal set of documentation causes the volume of this documentation to approximate that of the data collected. A model is presented that organizes documentation accrual by providing a glossary of key terms, a dictionary that defines all data elements, and codebooks that describe the data elements and transactions affecting them. Use of this model would facilitate data access by researchers, reduce ambiguity in terminology, and provide centralized control over a database and its documentation. 20 pp. Bibliog.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.