Cleaning up your act: simple ways to find errors in your raw data

Practical Data Management for Bug Counters

It’s been an interesting week. We had a massive ice storm in the eastern Great Lakes area, trees and power lines were totaled, power was out everywhere- I didn’t have electricity for four days. Things, basically, are a disordered mess, and everyone is working really hard to clean things up.

Which brings us to today’s topic- data cleaning and quality control.*

Even if you’re the most meticulous person in the world, if you have a lot of data, errors are probably going to creep in as you enter your data into your spreadsheet or database.** Often, they aren’t noticed until late in the game- after you’ve done your stats, after you’ve generated figures, after you’ve fussed with the figures to ensure the fonts are all right and everything is perfect- basically, after days and days of work.  I think you know where I’m going here. The thing with errors is…

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Author: Shane O'Mara

Neuroscientist, Psychologist, Writer