One of the main sources of inconsistencies in databases is the lack of homogeneous criteria for recording data. In this document you will find advice on how to mitigate these inconsistencies and give your database more coherence, uniformity and reliability. Communicate in a clear and explicit manner If you want your data to be reliable and trustworthy, you need to explain how you collected and recorded them in your database. It is not about revealing or exposing your sources (victims, witnesses, etc.), but about detailing how the study was made and how did you build the indicators. This process, as we will see later on this document, is complex and determines the results we will get. If we want to be reliable we need to reference the standards or laws that we are using and explain where do our specific indicators come from. Avoid ambiguity Polysemic, synonymic and ambiguous terms create inconsistencies when working with data. There might be words or sentences with various meanings (polysemy) or, by contrary, several words or phrases to name the same thing (synonymy). For example, we often say indistinctly "right to asylum" and "right to refuge" to talk about the protection and assistance that the state must guarantee for everyone forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. We use two different names to refer to the same thing or very similar things, as in some contexts there might be differences between them. If we store data related to this right in our database but we do not select the preferred term, it is very likely that inconsistencies will appear. Similarly, if we use polysemic words we should make clear which meaning we are referring to. Also, there are some terms frequently used in our daily life or in media that do not have an empirical correlation. Selecting the most adequate terminology in a database is a complex process. For instance, the use of the term “political prisoner” in the media might have different meanings that do not always match the specific way in which cases are registered in the database. Choosing the appropriate terminology for a database is a complex process. In the HR field, the glossaries created by specialised organisations constitute a good reference that we can take as a starting point. 2

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