What is a Data Codebook? « phd monkey

phd monkey An expedition through the forest of academia.

15Jul/11

What is a Data Codebook?

A data codebook is like a dictionary that defines and explains in detail the variables included in a database. As a visual learner, I value references such as this and understand that while the creation of such a codebook takes a bit time, it will also save time when the researcher begins the process of examining their data. Marczyk, DeMatteo, and Festinger (2005), suggest a Data Codebook, “serves as a permanent database guide, so that the researcher, when attempting to reanalyze certain data, will not be stuck trying to remember what certain variable names mean or what data were used for a certain analysis” (p. 203).

What is in a Data Codebook?

According to Marczyk et al. (2005) at a minimum, a data codebook should contain:

  • Variable name
  • Variable description
  • Variable format (number, data, text)
  • Instrument or method of collection
  • Date collected
  • Respondent or group
  • Variable location (in database)
  • Notes (p. 203).

Marczyk, G., DeMatteo, D., & Festinger, D. (2005). Essentials of research design and methodology. Hoboken, NJ:John Wiley & Sons.

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