Workshop: Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) - Train the Trainers


The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an international standard for describing the data produced by surveys and other observational methods in the social, behavioral, economic, and health sciences. DDI can document and manage different stages in the research data lifecycle, such as conceptualization, collection, processing, distribution, discovery, and archiving.

The goal of this workshop is to build up more training capacity on DDI. The new trainers should then be able to teach specific tutorials for their institution or general purpose tutorials for a broader audience.

The participants will work mainly through existing training material with the instructors to build a modular training material body. This material will include slides, examples, and text. The work will be partially organized in working groups. By this approach, participants will get deeper knowledge on DDI and build collaboratively the modular training body.

The modular structure of the material should allow teaching of tutorials for various purposes (like data collection, archive, metadata-driven approach) or a combination of these. It should be also suitable for multiple audiences.

The content will cover DDI Codebook, DDI Lifecycle, and ideas of DDI 4 (in development). An approach across versions will be possible for some areas.

The modular structure of the material should allow reuse for different purposes, possibly also for self-teaching material and general documentation. The material will use a technical format which supports these ideas (like reStructuredText, used format of the DDI 4 documentation).

The training material will be provided with under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license. The material can be then reused and changed in future by other instructors.

Course Outline and Draft Agenda

As a broad thought, each subject could follow the same pattern

  1. An introduction which talks about the purposes of what that part of DDI is trying to achieve, documentation, but also data management, questionnaire management etc. An explanation of the language used e.g. what do we really mean by representations, identifiable etc where we haven’t already covered it
  2. The main item types for that part of DDI, their purpose and examples, better to do less items well than more items thinly. Much of the content exists in previous slides from previous years but needs revisiting and slimming down
  3. One area that absorbed a lot of time and was hard for previous training was the packaging / schemes – this is an area we should probably think hard about how and to what depth we go.
  4. Break out for exercises that critique the training and generate a new / better example of how do I … or whole day sessions there should be two break outs, and for ½ day topics a single break out
  5. Bring everyone back and do a q & a

The final day could be presentations from participants in groups of 2 or 3 on improved versions of materials

In terms of allocation below is a basic punt on timing and topic areas


Item types approach


Plenary as described above


Foundational / Agent


Data Description


Data Capture


Classification / Study


DDi Versions, CV’s, Bindings


Preparation of materials for DDI & local use

Schedule of the workshop

Dagstuhl Daily Schedule (meal times, etc.)
Workshop Format

The general organization of the workshop day will be a combination of presentation/discussion and small group work. Presentations will focus on topical areas providing information on resource materials, clarifying a DDI perspective, and setting out specific goals for the 3-4 breakout groups. This presentation/working group pattern will be repeated once or twice daily depending on the topics.

Working groups will consist of approximately 5 attendees. Each group will have a targeted goal in terms of content coverage and/or presentation type (slide decks, examples, video, other). The membership of the groups will be vary as needed to reflect individual interests and expertise. Each working group is intended to meet only once rather than for consecutive periods.

At the end of each day the full group will come together to present their work.

Link to Resources


Add information on post-workshop training events here

Local Information

Dates: September 24-28, 2018

The workshop takes place at Schloss Dagstuhl. It has the Dagstuhl event number 18393 and a related web page.

See the separate page for practical information.


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