High accuracy and completeness of data is essentially for generating reliable management information. A new system combined with a smaller and more expert user base provide an ideal opportunity to focus on data quality from the outset. The Research Office is taking the following steps to maximise this.
Prevention of Issues
In order to maximise the chances of users not making errors or omitting important answers in the first place, training and documentation will be comprehensive in terms of what fields are required and also why certain fields are required. Users quite often do not complete a field if they are unaware of the benefit of it. However, when the purpose and outcome of it is described and they understand the benefit, compliance generally increases. It is our intention to instil this from the beginning. Documentation will also note which questions the College does not need to be answered to avoid users wasting effort.
Management of Issues
The Research Office will monitor the completeness of applications closely, particularly in the initial months after the system has gone live. The Research Office will rapidly contact the relevant user to check the reasons for any omissions and ask them to make any required amendments, provided they can still edit the record. If they can no longer edit the record, the Research Office will ask what the answer should have been and make the correction on their behalf. The goals of this approach are:
- Embedding good practice early on;
- Ensuring users are aware of what is expected of them;
- Ensuring users are aware that data quality is being monitored and actively managed; and therefore
- High data quality from the outset.
These data quality corrections will be logged so that the Research Office can better monitor the quality of system usage both across the College and in different areas of the tool itself. This will inform improvements to training and documentation. On a monthly basis, the Research Office will provide summarised reports of errors and omissions to faculty representatives to assist in staff management.