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Open Access Managing data for a multicountry longitudinal study: Experience from the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study

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Abstract:

The World Health Organization (WHO) Multicentre Growth Reference (MGRS) data management protocol was designed to create and manage a large data bank of information collected from multiple sites over a period of several years. Data collection and processing instruments were prepared centrally and used in a standardized fashion across sites. The data management system contained internal validation features for timely detection of data errors, and its standard operating procedures stipulated a method of master file updating and correction that maintained a clear trail for data auditing purposes. Each site was responsible for collecting, entering, verifying, and validating data, and for creating site-level master files. Data from the sites were sent to the MGRS Coordinating Centre every month for master file consolidation and more extensive quality control checking. All errors identified at the Coordinating Centre were communicated to the site for correction at source. The protocol imposed transparency on the sites' data management activities but also ensured access to technical help with operation and maintenance of the system. Through the rigorous implementation of what has been a highly demanding protocol, the MGRS has accumulated a large body of very high-quality data.

Keywords: DATA COLLECTION; DATA PROCESSING; DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM; LONGITUDINAL STUDY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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