Step 5: Save the data

It is extremely important to have a process in place to save and store your data – in both paper and electronic form. Various unforeseen events, such as a problem with your server, or an electrical surge or failure while working on a spreadsheet or database, can result in loss of the data with no possibility of retrieval unless you have established procedures for saving and back-up. 

For paper forms and records, be sure that the forms are stored in a locked/secure place to make sure they don’t get lost or misplaced. Making copies of your data recorded on paper (for back-up purposes) is an individual institutional decision.  Since paper forms can require a lot of space, you may want to make copies only of summary documents that contain all the information you need for completing the Indicators for School Health Programs.

For electronic records, as you enter your data, be sure to save it frequently and be certain to create a back-up copy of each data file to ensure against its loss.  To make another copy of your Excel worksheet or workbook, the empty square above Row 1 and to the left of Column A should be selected. Clicking on this square will automatically select the entire spreadsheet, and you can save it to another folder or to a CD-ROM or flash drive for safe-keeping. 

Many organizations have automatic back-up as part of their computer services, whereby data that are placed on specific drives are backed up every night or once a week as a precautionary measure.