Deleting Records (Part II) What Happens to Your Data?

Deleting a record, be it a Respondent, Job, Data Field, or Participation record can have unintended consequences if you're not careful.  There are many places in the Research Tracker® II system where deletions can be made.  For each, we discuss the impact of the deletion and what to consider before deleting.  The June Tech Topics carried the first installment of this subject.

IV. Deleting a custom field in Maintenance:  To delete a Multi-select or Respondent Yes/No field from the database, use the "Delete Field" button on the maintenance screen.

Each custom field has an assigned name in the Research Tracker® II database.  Multi-select fields carry a designation of cc1 through cc50.  Yes/No fields carry a designation of cb1 through cb50.  Deleting the field deletes the name associated with that field as well as all data entered for that field.  The field may then be reused.  For example, if cc1 is named "Health Problems" and health problem data has been entered for 200 respondents, the effect of deleting the field is as follows:  any health information entered for the 200 respondents is erased from the database; the field name "Health Problems" is deleted from the table of assigned field names; all the types of health problems are deleted from the table of assigned cc1 categories; cc1 is now empty and can be reused.  

Do not delete a custom field unless you are certain there is no useful information in the field.  To check, use the Respondent Reports, Frequency Distribution option for the field in question.

V. Deleting a field category in Maintenance:  To delete a category from a Multi-select, Demographic, Ineligible/Caution, or Job field from the database, click the desired field name to display the table of existing categories.  Position the mouse along the left border of the category you want to delete.  When the I-beam changes to an arrow, click to highlight the entire row and press the DEL key.

Deleting the category removes all data entered for that category from the Research Tracker® II database.  The code associated with that category can then be reused.  For example, if 23 is a category named "Sensitive Skin" in a field named "Health Problems", and health problem data has been entered for 200 respondents, the effect of deleting the category "Sensitive Skin" is an follows:  any health information entered for the 200 respondents pertaining to sensitive skin is erased from the database; the category name "Sensitive Skin" and the code 23 is deleted from the table of cc1 categories.  No other information is affected.

Deleting categories pertaining to Respondent information is not harmful if there is no useful information in the field.  To check, use the Respondent Reports, Frequency Distribution option for the field and category in question.  To check Ineligible or Caution categories, use the Respondent Report, Caution/Ineligible Reports, Frequency Distribution option for the field and category in question.

Deleting categories pertaining to Jobs (e.g. Job Type, Moderators, Participation Status) should be done with care, as this information is part of historic job and participation data.  Use the Job Reports, Job Report, Filter by Job Type, Job Topic, Moderator, or Participation Status option to check.  Recruiters can only be checked if you are using the add-on Recruiter Productivity Module.   Deleting a Call Status Code will not affect historical data.

If you have entered duplicate Recruiters or Moderators, contact MDSS for assistance in editing the participation and job records prior to deleting.

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