Data Repository: What it is, Types and Guide

Collecting data isn’t that hard, but what’s hard is creating and maintaining a data repository. Even harder is making sense out of a data repository.  Here we start with a definition of a data repository and how you can create a research insights repository along with the benefits.

What is a data repository?

A data repository is a data library or data archive. It may be referred to as a large database infrastructure or several databases that collect, manages, and store data sets for analysis, sharing, and reporting.

Data can be collected and stored in different ways like aggregated data which is usually collected from multiple sources or segments of a business and then they can be stored in a structured or unstructured manner and later on can be tagged with different metadata.

Data repositories generally maintain subscriptions to licensed data resources for its user to access the information. 

Data repository types

Data repositories are generally categorized into four types of data repositories:

  • Data Warehouse: This is the largest repository type where we have the data which has been collected from several business segments or sources. In this repository, the data stored is generally used for the analysis and reporting which will help the users/teams to make the correct decision in their business or project.
  • Data Lake: In this repository, data can be in any form that is structured, semi-structured, or unstructured. The main reason of coming into existence of a data lake is the limitation of the data warehouses. It helps to gain better data governance and total control of the data it has in it.
  • Data Mart: This can be actually considered as the subset of the data warehouse and it is focused on a particular subject, department, or any other specific area. Since we have got the data stored for a specific area a user can swiftly access the insights without spending much time searching in an entire data warehouse, ultimately, making users’ life easy.
  • Data Cube: This repository contains the most complex data in it. It may be described as the multidimensional extensions of different tables, they’re generally used to represent data that is too complex to be described by just tables rows and columns, so basically, a data cube can be used when we’ve to analyze the data which are available with us and are beyond 3-D.

Here, we’ll particularly talk about data repositories used in market research.

Benefits of using a research data repository

  • Greater visibility: Having data saved in a data repository enables you to view data anytime. Keeping it siloed in excel sheets or applications that are not used by a team reduces its visibility and hence its usability. It leads to a waste of time and resources. Whereas having a shared research data repository lets you visualize data such that it makes sense and enables you to make decisions that impact your business.
  • Enhanced discoverability: Saving data in digital format make it more accessible. Just search for the piece of data you’re looking for, and voila!. Also, the metadata added along with the data repository enables others to understand the large context and make more sense of it. 
  • Reuse data: A data repository contains many pieces of data. However, it’s more than just a warehouse. Discrete datasets are joined such that you can derive interesting insights into your area of research. You can generate various types of reports using the same datasets. For instance, if you conduct an online survey and collect data from your target audience, you can generate a comparison report to compare responses from various demographic groups. You can also generate trend reports to understand how people’s choices have changed over time. Both of these reports use the same data.
  • Gain insights from multiple sources of data: Integrating data repositories with other applications lets you see a multi-dimensional view of your data. For instance, you can analyze the historical survey data along with the actual sales data to understand the accuracy of insights gained in the past.

How to create one using online tools?

Creating a data repository for research data is simple with online tools. If you are conducting your research using surveys, communities, focus groups, or any other method, here are some of the ways to create a data repository.

Create a questionnaire: Many online tools allow you to drag and drop question types. You can create a survey in under 5 mins! Or you can also use a ready-to-use survey template to save time. Customize the template as per your needs and you’re good to go.

  • Brand your survey: Customize the header and footer, and add a logo to look more professional. You can also choose font style and color that suit your brand voice. Branding your surveys increases the chances of getting more responses.
  • Distribute your survey: Many tools offer different ways to distribute your survey such as email, embedding on the website, or sharing on social media sites. You can also generate a QR code or let your audience answer questions using a mobile app.
  • Analyze the data: Finally, once you have collected your data, it’s time to generate the reports. Use tools that let you create dashboards and generate reports with ease.

If you need any help to conduct research or creating a data repository, connect with our team of experts. We can guide you through the process and help you make the most of your data. 


Authors: Radhika Makhecha, Ashok Singh