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Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

 


To learn general information about MonitoringResouces.org see the MonitoringResources.org, Methods and Protocols, and Sample Design Fact Sheets. Here is a quick guide to get started with documenting your methods and protocols: Quick Guide

You can find out more about MonitoringResources.org on the About page https://www.monitoringresources.org/Resources/Home/About

Q: What is MonitoringResources.org and what's it for?

A: MonitoringResources.org is a suite of tools where monitoring practitioners can easily document information about their projects and programs once and share many times, and where funders and managers can review existing and proposed monitoring projects and better understand gaps and overlaps at a regional scale. The tools designed to guide and assist monitoring practitioners with their monitoring programs, from the early design stage through implementation and generation of descriptive statistics. This site also serves resource managers, funding entities, and policy makers by given them a comprehensive view of monitoring programs and projects that are occurring or have occurred in a given spatial extent.

Q: Why was it created?

A: These resources are intended to promote better documentation and enable more efficiency in collaboration and data sharing between programs. MonitoringResources.org helps investigators plan and implement effective, efficient, high quality habitat monitoring projects by offering tools that provide guidance and support design and documentation of various aspects of a monitoring project. By providing these tools online, we are facilitating transfer of information and supporting collaboration between projects and programs. MonitoringResources.org is the framework that houses four applications, which can be accessed via the application toolbar at the top of the page. The toolbar can be collapsed or expanded by clicking the "APPS" icon.

Q: Why was it created?
A: From the individual researcher to the institutional level, there has been a growing demand for better and more consistent documentation of monitoring and evaluation protocols. Whether it's to support Endangered Species Act implementation, evaluate effectiveness of monitoring investments, or promulgate best practices, information is needed about assumptions, techniques, and methods used in the field. An efficient way to help each other learn more about who's collecting what, why, and how is with an online application. Here, practitioners can discuss their methods, find out how others' collect the same kind of information, and tap into the collective expertise of their colleagues.

Q: Who's it for?
A: Monitoring Resouces can help individuals as well as organizations involved in aquatic species/habitat monitoring and assessment. Tools for organizations - such as enabling peer review or setting up web services - are at various stages of development. If you are interested in discussing how your organization would like to use MonitoringResources.org, please contact PNAMP, at pnamp.info@gmail.com.

Q: Are web services available with MonitoringResources.org?

A:Yes, to see a list of available web services on the top of the page click 'Connect'--> 'Web Services'

Q: What's in there now?
A: The majority of protocols in MonitoringResources.org were added during Bonneville Power Administration's (BPA) Research, Monitoring, & Evaluation (RME) Categorical Review process in 2010. Since the data model for MonitoringResources.org was developed after the proposal process, the transfer was not a simple copy and paste for all information. Hence, we encourage RM&E users to review and edit their entries and all other users to start entering their information.

 


Q: How do I set up an account?

A: Follow the instructions on the Join page.

Q: Why would I want an account?

A: You can browse and read much of the site's content without an account. However, registered users will be able to create protocols or create methods, edit or review them, make a watch list, leave comments, bookmark protocols, and much more.

Q: Are there different types of accounts?

A: Yes, there are different levels of permissions associated with different types of accounts in order to control for the quality of information on the site. If you are interested in gaining a different level of access, please Contact Us directly.

Q: How do I access my account once it's set up?

A: You can LOGIN at http://www.monitoringresources.org or the Login page.

 


Q: What's the difference between a Program, a Protocol, and a Method?

A: Definitions for all terms are available in the GLOSSARY. Terms, wherever they appear within the site, are hyperlinked to their full definition as they appear in the Glossary.

Q: This site uses terms like metric and study design differently than I'm used to. What are your definitions of terms?
A: Definitions for all terms are available in the GLOSSARY. Terms, wherever they appear within the site, are hyperlinked to their full definition as they appear in the Glossary.

Q: What are "colleagues" within MonitoringResources.org?
A: People you add as COLLEAGUES can review or help edit Draft protocols or methods, and can comment on them in the Draft state. Colleagues will also receive notifications when your protocols or methods are updated or when others comment on them. Likewise, if you are a colleague of someone else, you can help them out with their protocols and methods. Note: Adding someone as a Colleague does not automatically make you a Colleague of theirs.

Q: How do I find out who my Colleagues are and who I'm a Colleague of?
A: You need to be logged into the system. You can then click the MY STUFF link at the top right of any page. Click the COLLEAGUES tab. Anyone you have added as a colleague is listed as well as those people you're a colleague of.

Q: How do I add Colleagues?
A: You need to LOGIN to the system first. You can then click the MY STUFF link at the top right of any page. Click the EDIT button next to your contact info. Click the COLLEAGUES tab and search for names to add. Be sure to select Colleague type.

Q: How do I request becoming a Colleague of someone else?
A: Again you need to LOGIN to the system first. You can then click on anyone's name (appears throughout the app, but a good place to start is the COMMUNITY page) and then from their profile page, click the COLLEAGUES tab. From there, click the link below the "Colleagues of…" subheading. Alternatively, you can go the detailed view of a protocol or method, and request being a colleague of the protocol or method's owner.

Q: Can someone else request becoming a Colleague of mine?
A: Yes, it works both ways: they can request becoming a Colleague of yours, you can request becoming a Colleague of theirs. If someone requests becoming a Colleague of yours, you will receive an automated email with instructions on how to add them. Once you add them, they will receive an automated email confirming the addition.

Q: What is the community forum?
A: The Community Forum is public and intended to be a place for knowledge sharing, coordination, collaboration, and continued learning among practitioners. You can read discussion posts, initiate new discussions, or reply to ongoing discussions. For example, you may want to find or share real world experiences from implementing a protocol or method. You may want to weigh in on discussions for ‘best practices' for a given technique. The Forum is the place for that and provides a lasting record of what the community has discussed. Users can post discussion comments on a specific protocol or method or as a general discussion comment.

Q: How do I post a general comment?
A: For general comments, click the DISCUSS menu on the homepage and click the link that says CREATE NEW DISCUSSION POSTING. Please note, you must be logged in to do more than just read the comments.

Q: How do I post a comment on a specific protocol or method?
A: For comments specific to a protocol or method:
  • Go to the Protocol Details page and ADD A COMMENT in the Details section you want to comment on.
  • Go to the Method Details page and ADD A COMMENT in the Details section you want to comment on.

Q: Why can't I see full details of my content?
A: First, make sure you are logged in. If you still see abbreviated or limited details, it is likely that your content is in Draft state and you are not identified as the owner or a colleague of the owner. When we generated protocols based on proposals from the 2010 BPA RM&E Categorical Review, we set the owner of methods and protocols to be the proposal's Primary Contact. If that is not you, you will not be able to see the full details of Draft content, but you can request that the owner add you as a colleague which will allow you to see and/or edit all the Draft content that they own. You can also just email the owner - click on their name to view their profile and contact info. If you feel you should be the owner of specific content, please Contact Us (include your BPA Project Number in your message).

Q: Why can't I see full details of my coworker's content?
A: It is likely that your coworker's content is still in Draft state. If so, you will not be able to see the full details unless the state changes or they assign you as a Colleague. Please refer to the Colleagues section for more information about being added as a colleague or adding your own colleagues.

Q: How do I find a protocol or method I'm looking for?
A: You can search using the site-wide search box located in the top right corner of every page. Entering search terms in this box will return anything with those words in it. This can be a protocol or method or metric subcategory, or it may be a discussion post. If you want to search for specific protocols or methods, you can go to Browse - Protocol (or Method) and see a complete list. You can use the fiter boxes above each column in the indexed grid to search for particular keywords. You can do the same for all of the content types on MonitoringMethods.org, including metric subjects, categories, subcategories, organizations, etc.

Note on terminology: We encourage you to review the GLOSSARY to familiarize yourself with the terminology before creating or editing content. The Glossary is intended to help owners and users be more consistent with the terminology we're using throughout the site. Here is a quick guide to get started with documenting your methods and protocols: Quick Guide

Q: What kind of details are you looking for in methods?
A: General guidance for methods is that a method should describe a systematic, standard operating procedure for collecting data (Measurements) or analyzing data (deriving Metrics from Measurements). Methods must be repeatable by others. Enough detail should be provided so that the reader does not have to refer to cited article(s) or outside resources in order to use and repeat a Method. The background should discuss the importance of the technique, why the technique is used, or why the technique is preferable over others, not details about your project. You may want to to check that similar Methods for these procedures do not already exist in the system; if they do you can simply reference those Methods instead of creating a new one.

Methods should be general. The objective of Monitoring Resources is to compile a library of methods that can be used in other protocols regardless of agency, study location, or species of interest. This specific information about where the Method is applied, by whom, to what species, and how often should ideally be captured in a Protocol, along with each Method used. Each process for collecting or analyzing information should be documented in a discrete Method. Ideally, each individual Method would describe full step-by-step instructions. Because there can be different ways to implement similar methodologies, we want to be sure that protocols referencing each particular method are actually following the steps that are described.

The reason we ask users to document general Methods is to encourage sharing and reuse of Methods in future Protocols. Rather than have a long list of what is essentially the same Method, we'd like to see users referencing common Methods in their Protocols when the techniques are the same or similar. If similar, users can customize an existing Method - this will allow them to annotate the original Method with information about changes they have made for their own work. This should save the time of entering an entire new Method.

If instructions do need to be specific, try to offer general steps first, then the specifics. For example, if you were describing how to remove stomach contents from fish, you might say: “Stomach contents are obtained a variety of ways based on the size and species of fish captured. For example, for smallmouth bass and walleye measuring 150 mm or longer, pump stomach contents with a modified Seaburg sampler. For channel catfish measuring more than 250 mm, remove the entire digestive tract.”

Q: How do I create a protocol or method?
A: For Protocols, go to CREATE - PROTOCOL
  • This brings up a page that allows you to add content. Please note: content is organized into sections. You will see a menu on the left sidebar that allows you to navigate between sections. You must click SAVE at the bottom of each page to save all changes. Fields marked with a red asterisk are required.
  • Associate methods with your protocol in the Methods section - you can search the existing method database. If you cannot find your method, you will need to create a new one (CREATE - METHOD or follow the steps in the Methods search pop-up window) or select a similar method and customize it (see below for FAQ on Customized Methods).
For Methods, go to CREATE - METHOD and follow the instructions provided.
***NOTE*** It is recommended that users BROWSE-->METHODS (or use the global site search in the top right) to search for methods that describe their work and could be referenced in their protocol (or customized in their protocol) BEFORE creating new methods. If you find an existing method that works for you, don't create a new one. You can reference methods owned by others. See the information below about generic documentation.

Q: How do I create a new organization, program, or metric?
A: You will not be able to create these content types directly in the system. You will need to Contact Us if you would like to add or revise the existing content in these categories.

Q: I see a link that says 'Customize Method' next to methods I add to my protocol. What does this mean?
A: If you are browsing the list of methods to find something appropriate to add to your protocol and find one that doesn't exactly describe what you do, but is very close, you can add that method to your protocol, then customize it to create a Customized Method. Please note that this feature should be used for methods that are not owned by you. If you own a method an want to make changes, you should edit the method or create a new version. The 'Customize Method' feature will allow you to make notes in each section of the original method about what is different in your method. For example, if you see another user's method that describes backpack electroshocking and want to use it in your protocol, but the equipment listed is not the same as what you use, you would add the method, click 'Customize Method' on the Response-Methods page when editing your protocol, check the box under the Equipment section and type in the equipment that is different when you implement the method in the text box that appears under that section.

Q: What happens if the original method I've customized is changed by the owner?
A: We have set the system up so that when a method that has customized methods linked to it is changed, the owners of the customized methods will be notified of the change. Similarly, when a user customizes another user's method or makes changes to a customized method, the owner of the original method will be notified. This will help the community stay up to date on the latest updates for techniques.

Q: Can I see Customized Methods and add them to my protocol?
A: If you are viewing the details of a Protocol that contains a Customized Method, you will be able to click the link for that method and view the details of the customization. A Customized Method cannot be added to more than one Protocol.

Q: I already have a documented protocol. Why can't I just upload it into the system?
A: The problem with allowing folks to only upload an entire document is that it significantly reduces the ability to verify that different components of a Method/Protocol are provided and the result is a very wide range of quality and quantity of documentation. Also, by structuring the data into different fields (e.g., background vs step by step instructions vs equipment list), we can "publish" them independently as components of web services, allowing independent third party consumption and analysis. Know that you can upload an entire document of your full Method/Protocol, but that's in addition to filling out the individual fields within the template page. This will enable users to quickly find the details of your work without having to search a document for it and will allow for quick comparisons between content. Also, if you don't add information to the template, you won't be able to get your Method/Protocol out of DRAFT state, since the required fields won't be completed.

We would be happy to help enter your information if you want to email () your documentation to us.

Q: I have entered my metrics and my methods, but in the Metric-Method Mapping page it's telling me that I have methods that aren't matched to anything. What does this mean?
A: In the Metric-Method Mapping section, we are looking for you to make a linkage between the metrics you identified in the protocol and the methods that will be used to produce those metrics. For instance, if you selected a metric like 'Fish Abundance', you may have used a method such as 'Weir', 'Screw Trap', etc. to collect data for that metric. There may also be a data analysis method associated with the derivation of the metric.

How to edit the mappings:
-Highlight a metric in the top table
-Check the boxes next to associated methods in the bottom table (associated methods are those that are used to collect or analyze data to derive the selected metric)
-Repeat the first two steps for each metric in the top table.
-Click Save when you're finished. You should have all metrics mapped to one or more methods and all methods mapped to at least one metric. There is a summary below the Save button that shows all the metrics and associated methods that you've chosen.

Note on terminology: We encourage you to review the GLOSSARY to familiarize yourself with the terminology before creating or editing content. The Glossary is intended to help owners and users be more consistent with the terms used throughout the site.

Q: How do I review and edit a protocol?
A: Follow these steps to Review/Edit a protocol in Draft state:
  • LOGIN or JOIN
  • Click the MY STUFF link at the top right of any page to see all content you own. Content is listed by type: Protocols and Methods
  • Review Protocol details by clicking the Protocol Title (from MY STUFF page)
    • If changes need to be made, click the EDIT PROTOCOL tab. This brings up a page that allows you to edit the content. Please note: content is organized into sections and each section is on a different page. You will see a menu on the left sidebar that allows you to navigate between sections. You must click SAVE at the bottom of each page to save all changes.
  • Review Methods by clicking on the Method Title (from MY STUFF page)
    • If changes need to be made, click the EDIT METHOD tab. This brings up a page that allows you to edit the content.

Q: How do I make the text larger? (Why is text so small?)
A: Most modern web browsers have built-in capability to increase the text size on the page. Look for this feature in the "View" menu, or use the keyboard shortcuts. On a Windows computer, press Ctrl + or Ctrl -. On a Mac, press Command + or Command -. To return to the original text size, press Ctrl 0 or Command 0.

 

Monitoring Resources allows users to request publishing of their Protocols and Methods. Note on terminology: The term 'PUBLISH' is to denote a change in the state of the content. Please review our State Diagram for more information on content states. Once content is PUBLISHED, it cannot be edited. If changes need to be made to PUBLISHED content, you will need to create a new version or you can request a minor change.

Q: What's the difference between ‘Draft' and ‘Published' protocols/methods?
A: For starters, check out our State Diagram. A protocol/methodl is in a Draft state until the owner REQUESTS PUBLISHING. Draft protocols/methods are open for editing by the Owner and the Owner's Colleagues until Published. Visibility of Draft protocols/methods can be set by the Owner and the Owner's Colleagues by using the ‘Visibility’ drop down menu on the Basics & Objectives page when in the edit tab. You can set viewing rights to ‘Just me and my colleagues’ or ‘Everyone’, meaning all visitors to MonitoringResources.org have the opportunity to see the full details and can comment on your protocol/method. Once you REQUEST PUBLISHING, the protocol/method is marked as Draft-In Review, denoting that you have submitted the content to be published. At any point, if you are wondering what is happening with the review, check the comments tab on the protocol/method to make sure you haven’t already gotten review comments. If you still don’t see anything, you can send a support request in (see >Help & Contact Us). Once the review is complete, the protocol/method will become Published, meaning it cannot be edited and everyone can view the content. If changes need to be made to a Published protocol/method, you will need to create a new version or you can request a minor change to the published protocol/method by contacting support.
Q: How do I request publishing of my method/protocol?
A: To submit a method/protocol for publishing, click on the EDIT METHOD/PROTOCOL tab (you must be logged in). Click on the REQUEST PUBLISHING button on the left sidebar. If the button is not active, check to make sure all required fields have been completed. Required fields are those marked with a red asterisk. To see a list of incomplete fields, both required and optional, click on the Completeness bar in the left sidebar. Once you successfully request publishing, your content will change from 'Draft' to 'Draft-In Review'.

Q: What happens when I request publishing of my method/protocol?
A: Currently, a publish request for a method will initiate a review by Monitoring Resources staff. A request for a protocol will initiate review by Monitoring Resources staff and BPA staff if associated with a BPA contract. We envision a process whereby users can request a peer review of their protocol or method in the future. Publishing requests will be reviewed in the order in which they are received. Staff will look for issues in methods such as information that is too specific to an individual project, duplication, and lack of detail in the instructions. In protocols, staff will look for consistent documentation, matching of metrics and methods, information about data handling (storage, qa/qc workflow, etc.), and ensure details have not been forgotten. If the reviewer has no comments for edits, they will publish immediately. If the reviewer has comments, they will be posted in MonitoringResources.org. You will see the comments in the METHOD/PROTOCOL DETAILS tab and you will also be sent a notification email with the comments. Once comments have been received, you should edit content accordingly and request that the publishing process be continued. You will no longer see a 'Request Publishing' button in the edit screen. In order to request that the publishing process be continued, you will need to reply to the reviewer comments in Monitoring Resources; or if you feel changes are not warranted, you should REPLY to the comment with your reasons for not editing. The content will be checked again and the publishing process will resume.

Q: What if my protocol references a method that is owned by someone else and it isn't published, but I want to publish my protocol?
A: For any unpublished Methods referenced in your Protocol that you do not own, you will need to either wait for those Methods to be published, work with the owner to get them published or transfer ownership, replace them with an already published Method, or create your own. The last option is not one we recommend as it will ultimately create duplicate Methods in the system. If you find yourself in this situation and the Method owner is not responsive, please contact Support . We can help with contacting the owner and transferring ownership if appropriate. We hope that as we continue to refine the content and publish more generic Methods, users won't find themselves in this situation as often. Thank you for your patience!

Q: What if my protocol references an unpublished method that is owned by someone else that I customized, but I want to publish my protocol? Does the method I customized have to be published first?
A: Yes. For any unpublished Methods referenced in your Protocol that you do not own, even if customized, those Methods have to be published before publishing the Protocol. Again, we recommend either working with the owner to get the original Method published or transferring ownership of the original Method and updating with the customizations. If you find yourself in this situation and the Method owner is not responsive, please contact Support . We can help with contacting the owner and transferring ownership if appropriate. We hope that as we continue to refine the content and publish more generic Methods, users won't find themselves in this situation as often. Thank you for your patience!

Q: How do I cite a method or protocol in Monitoring Resources?
A: There is a 'Citation' section on the Details page of each method and protocol that contains details provided by users that can be used in citation. We recommend you visit one of these resources to learn how to properly cite an online resource: http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/netciteFARQ.html https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/

Q: What's the difference between a Program, a Protocol, and a Method?
A: Definitions for all terms are available in the GLOSSARY. Terms, wherever they appear within the site, are hyperlinked to their full definition as they appear in the Glossary.

Q: This site uses terms like metric and study design differently than I'm used to. What are your definitions of terms?
A: Definitions for all terms are available in the GLOSSARY. Terms, wherever they appear within the site, are hyperlinked to their full definition as they appear in the Glossary.

Q: I noticed some changes on the site. Where can I learn more about what has happened?
A: If interested in tracking updates to the site, please subscribe to our email list. A synopsis of new features is emailed to your inbox once every two weeks. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Q: Who do I contact for general support questions?
A: Email . Monitoring Resources Support

Q: Who do I contact to learn more about the site's purpose and objectives?
A: Contact PNAMP at pnamp.info@gmail.com.

Q: How do I stay up-to-date on the latest changes to the site?
A: Subscribe to PNAMP's email list. A synopsis of new features is emailed to your inbox once every two weeks. You can unsubscribe anytime.