Great Reports Start With Accurate Data

Great Reports Start With Accurate Data

The most important component of any faculty activity reporting solution is accurate data, which determines the quality of every report as well as every faculty annual review and promotion and tenure process. Achieving a high level of data quality means you can trust your reports to inform your decisions about issues related to faculty activity and other strategic priorities.

Four Dimensions of Data Quality

To determine the quality of data in your Activity Insight instrument, Digital Measures considers four dimensions:

  • Completeness is the measure of whether data needed to feed your reports are indeed present in your system.
  • Consistency in data collection ensures that all activities of a certain type are entered the same way, in a single source field and that they can be consistently extracted to feed any report that requires the information.
  • Currency is the measure of how up to date your data are, and therefore how accurately it measures your faculty’s most recent activities. The more you can count on Activity Insight to provide “fresh” information, the more often it will be seen as the go-to source for on-demand information requests about activities and accomplishments.
  • Accuracy is, well, accuracy. More on that in a bit.

We provide quality scores on the completeness, consistency and currency of your instrument’s data on a quarterly basis.

The X Factor—Accuracy

Only you can evaluate data accuracy for your university, so it’s important to regularly review reports for questionable information. The more users there are using reports from the system, the more eyes there are to spot possible inaccuracies.

Check Data From Other Sources

To begin improving accuracy, build a process around regularly updating data that comes from another campus source system such as Banner or Peoplesoft. It’s important to have a well-vetted bulk data upload process or web services integration to automate a consistent stream of accurate records. It’s useful to evaluate data from screens such as:

  • Personal and Contact Information
  • Yearly Data
  • Permanent Data
  • Scheduled Teaching
  • Academic Advising
  • Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

Make Alerting Easy

Develop an open channel of communication for faculty to address any inaccuracies in the data imported on their behalves. Adding help text on these screens to direct faculty to the person who can correct the source will ensure that Activity Insight receives corrected data during the next scheduled upload. Frequent updates of data from other campus source systems ensure that Activity Insight data is both current and accurate.

Build Test Reports

It’s also helpful to create custom reports with the specific purpose of testing data quality. These reports can be tailored based on the metrics your campus finds most important. For example, if collaborating with students on research is a key metric, you can surface data quality issues around this metric by building a custom report with a table that displays research records, breaking out collaborators, roles and if a student was involved.

The Dividends of High Data Quality

When all four dimensions of data quality are high, the payoff is enormous: complete, current and correct reporting. Our Resource Center, a knowledge base and user community for Activity Insight, has in-depth articles to assist clients with addressing all dimensions of data quality. In addition, your Solution Specialist can provide your system’s most recent scores and help you identify opportunities to improve them.

What happened to your reports when you improved data quality? We’d like to hear your story.

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