There is no single definition that adequately describes metadata, though it often is referred to as "data about data" or is a description of data. In other words, metadata is a set of highly structured and/or encoded data that describes a large set of data. It explains the data to be collected, processed, and published and answers questions regarding every facet of the documented data. The data can be an individual data item or a collection of data items, with a primary purpose of managing, understanding, and facilitating data. Most important, metadata describes diverse data products by emphasizing the similarities between them, thus allowing people to understand the diverse data a certain organization has produced.
In survey research, metadata plays a vital role; ...
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