What are Data Queries?
A data query is an error or discrepancy generated when a validation check, either done manually or by a computer program, detects a problem with the data. A query management system is a tool that tracks data queries so they can be adequately individualized and resolved. QMS substantially minimizes and even eliminates the risk of invalid data being unnoticed. When a data query (e.g., data issue) is created it should be persistent, which allows it to be tracked over time, and only be resolved in the following ways:
- by correcting the error, in other words entering a new value that is valid
- by marking the data in conflict as correct
Implementing a query management workflow
Clinical data collection may be done in different ways, some researchers use paper forms, excel while more experiences one’s Electronic Data Capture, here we expose how query management can be set up with different data collection methods:
Paper Case Report Forms (CRFs)
When collecting data with paper Case Report Forms (CRFs) the task of transcribing the data from paper to a database software may be carried out by a separate team. This team is responsible for confirming that data has been correctly collected and will often do this twice in a process called double data entry, to minimize the possibility of mistakes being unnoticed and new errors being of created during data transcription. Any discrepancies that may be found during double data entry may be kept on a separate Excel file, so they are tracked and resolved by contacting the person that originated that issue. Collecting research data with paper forms is not only prone to mistakes with handwriting interpretation but also makes the task of validating data extremely time-consuming.
Online survey tools.
Creating data validation rules with online questionnaires like Qualtrics and Survey Monkey is possible. Validation rules may be established to force or remind a user that a field is required or that a value is out of range. Data validation minimizes the possibility of errors and required fields being left empty. Although data validating can be automatic, isolating data issues with an online survey tool needs manual filtering and a high level of attention to assure no data problems are unnoticed.
Excel is often used for research data collection. Researchers value the fact that Excel is almost as ubiquitous as a computer and that it works without the need for internet. Excel’s data validation is very powerful; you can use formulas that nest arithmetic calculations and combine multiple fields or variables.
As mentioned above, data validation is only the first step in a query management workflow, and since Excel does not generate reports of data issues, to raise and resolve queries one has to rely on manual and time-consuming work.
Electronic Data Capture
Electronic Data Capture (EDC) is software specially designed for the collection of clinical data in electronic format, often for use in human clinical trials. EDCs, like Trends Bird Limited, have built-in query management and comply with Good Clinical Practice (GCP). We recommend to always use a validated EDC for collecting sensitive and research data. EDC eliminates the need for paper forms and drastically simplifies data monitoring.