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Skills, Standards, and Sapp Nelson's Matrix: Evaluating Research Data Management Workshop Offerings

  • Philip Espinola Coombs (Boston University)
  • Christine Malinowski (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Amy Nurnberger (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


Objective: To evaluate library workshops on their coverage of data management topics.

Methods: We used a modified version of Sapp Nelson’s Competency Matrix for Data Management Skills, a matrix of learning goals organized by data management competency and complexity level, against which we compared our educational materials: slide decks and worksheets. We examined each of the educational materials against the 333 learning objectives in our modified version of the Matrix to determine which of the learning objectives applied.

Conclusions: We found it necessary to change certain elements of the Matrix’s structure to increase its clarity and functionality: reinterpreting the “behaviors,” shifting the organization from the three domains of Bloom’s taxonomy to increasing complexity solely within the cognitive domain, as well as creating a comprehensive identifier schema. We appreciated the Matrix for its specificity of learning objectives, its organizational structure, the comprehensive range of competencies included, and its ease of use. On the whole, the Matrix is a useful instrument for the assessment of data management programming.

Keywords: data management, assessment, competencies, instruction, data literacy

How to Cite:

Coombs, P. E. & Malinowski, C. & Nurnberger, A., (2019) “Skills, Standards, and Sapp Nelson's Matrix: Evaluating Research Data Management Workshop Offerings”, Journal of eScience Librarianship 8(1): 6, e488. doi: https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2019.1162

Rights: Copyright © 2019 Coombs, Malinowski, and Nurnberger

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Published on
31 Jul 2019