Documenting Research Data

This guide is a collection of resources shared in Data Services' "Documenting Your Research Data" online modules

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Best Practices for Code Documentation

General guidelines and best practices for documenting code:

Style Guides

Guides for R and Python syntax and styles: 

Write Comments

Tutorials and templates for writing helpful code comments: 

R Markdown

R Markdown is a file format to create interactive documents in R. Such a document can include text,  code chunks and metadata. Other programming languages, such as Python, SQL, D3, can also be documented with R Markdown. 

  • R Markdown official site:   The office site for R Markdown, with instructions to get started, and gallery, resources to learn more.   

  • RPubs:  A web space to share R Markdown documents, created by RStudio. You can also view other people’s R Markdown documents.   

  • R Markdown: The Definitive Guide: A book written by the creator of R Markdown package, Yihui Xie. A good reference when writing an R Markdown document.   

Jupyter Notebooks

Jupyter Notebook allows you to create interactive documents in Python. You can embed and execute code within Jupyter Notebooks. Other programming languages, such as R and Julia, can be documented with Jupyter Notebooks as well.  

  • Jupyter Notebook official site: The official site for Project Jupyter, including documentation, a list of Jupyter community, nbviewer for viewing and sharing Jupyter Notebook and the latest information about Project Jupyter.  

  • Jupyter Notebook: An Introduction by Real Python: A brief introduction of Jupyter Notebook, including how to get started, elements in a Jupyter Notebook, how to explore a Notebook and Notebook extensions.  

  • Jupyter Notebook Tutorial: The Definitive Guide by Data Camp: A tutorial introduces the history of Jupyter Notebook, and how to install, use and create a Notebook document. In addition, it offers tips, best practices and examples of Jupyter Notebook.   

  • A gallery of interesting Jupyter Notebooks: A list of Jupyter Notebook examples in various disciplines on GitHub. 


Best practices and templates for creating a well-structured ReadMe file:  

Version Control and Code Repository

Introduction of version control system, why it is important and best practices for version control. In addition, some resources about Git, GitHub and GitHub Desktop including installation instructions, documentation and tutorials. 

  • Source code management: A tutorial created by BitBucket about the importance of source code management, and the benefits and best practices of it.