An evaluation plan should include a clear description of what data will be collected, from what sources and how, by whom, and when, as well as how the data will be analyzed. Placing this information in a matrix helps ensure that there is a viable plan for collecting all the data necessary to answer each evaluation question and that all collected data will serve a specific, intended purpose. The table below may be copied into another document, such as a grant proposal, and edited/ expanded as needed. An example is provided on the next page.
Metadata and Information Specialist – Internet Scout Research Group
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Director/PI – Internet Scout Research Group
University of Wisconsin-Madison
As most ATE community members are aware, the National Science Foundation requires that all grant applicants provide a one- to two-page data management plan describing how the grantee’s proposal will meet NSF guidelines on the dissemination of grant-funded work. In 2014, NSF added a new requirement to the ATE solicitation mandating that newly funded grantees archive their deliverables with ATE Central.
We were curious to find out more about the materials created within the ATE community. So, when EvaluATE approached us about including questions related to data management planning and archiving in their annual survey of ATE grantees, we jumped at the chance. We had an interest in discovering not only what resources have been created, but also how those resources are disseminated to larger audiences. Additionally, we hoped to discover whether grantees are actively making their materials web accessible to users with disabilities—a practice that ensures access by the broadest possible audience.
The survey responses highlight that the most widely created materials include (not surprisingly) curriculum and professional development materials, with newsletters and journal articles taking up the rear. Other materials created by the ATE community include videos, white papers and reports, data sets, and webinars.
However, although grantees are creating a lot of valuable resources, they may not be sharing them widely and, in some cases, may be unsure of how best to make them available after funding ends. The graphs below illustrate the available of these materials, both currently and after grant funding ends.
Data from the annual survey shows that 65 percent of respondents are aware of accessibility standards—specifically Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act; however, 35 percent are not. Forty-eight percent of respondents indicated that some or most of their materials are accessible, while another 22 percent reported that all materials generated by their project or center adhere to accessibility standards. Happily, only 1 percent of respondents reported that their materials do not adhere to standards; however, 29 percent are unsure whether their materials adhere to those standards or not.
Many of us struggle with issues related to sustaining our resources, which is part of the reason we are all asked by NSF to create a data management plan. To help PIs plan for long-term access, ATE Central offers an assortment of free services. Specifically, ATE Central supports data management planning efforts, provides sustainability training, and archives materials created by ATE projects and centers, ensuring access to these materials beyond the life of the project or center that created them.
DMPs are not evaluation plans, but they should address how evaluation data will be handled and possibly shared.
DMPs are required for all NSF proposals, uploaded as a Supplementary Document in the FastLane.gov proposal submission system. They can be up to two pages long and should describe
- the kind of data you will gather
- how you’ll format the data and metadata (metadata is documentation about what your primary data are)
- what policies will govern the access and use of your data by others
- how you’ll protect privacy, confidentiality, security, and intellectual property
- who would be interested in accessing your data and in what ways they might use it
- your plans for archiving the data and preserving access to them
To learn more about data management plans, check out these resources: