Data Management

One of the most detail-oriented tasks in administrating the IMAGE program involves data management. Depending on the number of student cohorts that participate, quite a bit of data can be generated, even if the follow-up assessments are not administered. Starting out organized and then staying organized will reduce confusion and stress levels.


Cohort Identification

Assigning a unique number to each cohort will assist in scheduling sessions, with data entry, and in maintaining confidentiality. Often, a range of numbers will be assigned based upon the nature of the cohort. For instance, Greek Life organizations may be assigned numbers in the one-hundreds (101, 102, and so on), while student athlete cohorts are assigned those in the two-hundreds (201, 202, and so on).


Tracking

First, create a tracking sheet to monitor each cohort’s progression through the points in the IMAGE program.  This should include the date of the initial session, and when the follow-up surveys will be due.  Second, mark the due dates on a calendar or dry-erase board to visually track each cohort as they move through the program. Begin contacting cohorts at least one week prior to the follow-up due date, as it often takes persistence to obtain the completed surveys.


Coding

Most coding of the variables on the surveys is straightforward, with the exception of the self-protective behaviors that are identified in statements of intent on the post-test.  The student responses tend to vary a great deal, so it is necessary to categorize the list of self-protective behaviors ahead of time.

Suggested categories would be:

  • Abstinence (includes making academics a priority over alcohol, leaving a party where alcohol is the focus, and making friends who do not drink excessively)
  • Having a Designated Driver
  • Setting Limits Ahead of Time
  • Staying Hydrated
  • Not Drinking Alone
  • Drinking Less  (or slowing down)
  • Keeping Track of Number of Drinks
  • Eating Beforehand
  • Protecting Own Drink
  • “Little Voice” (know when to stop drinking)
  • General Self-Protective Behaviors

Consult with other staff members when there is a behavior listed that does not seem to fit exactly within the specified categories.


Aggregate files

In the interest of keeping errors to a minimum, it is helpful to maintain unique database files for each cohort.  At the end of the program, these files can be merged together into one aggregate file for analysis.