Skip to Main Content

Data management for students: Folder structure

Folder structure

Placing your files inside a folder with a clear structure allows for retrieving your different files and versions more easily. This is not only important for yourself; especially when you work together with others, a clear folder structure is indispensable. It is important to think about the folder structure before you start saving files. Adjusting an already existing folder structure can be a time-consuming task. 


  • Think about your folder structure's hierarchy: does it work better for your research to have a deep folder structure (multiple subfolders under a limited number of main folders) or flat structure (many main folders, few subfolders)? 
  • In general, the advice is to put no more than three or four subfolders in a folder and no more than ten files in a folder.
  • Put all the relevant material for understanding your data, such as information about data collection and data processing, together in a folder.
  • If you have multiple independent data sets, it is recommended to create a separate folder for each data set.