Chapter 7

Getting Your Data into the Computer

In This Chapter

arrow Understanding levels of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio)

arrow Defining and entering different kinds of data into your research database

arrow Making sure your data is accurate

arrow Creating a data dictionary to describe the data in your database

Before you can analyze data, you have to collect it and get it into the computer in a form that’s suitable for analysis. Chapter 5 describes this process as a series of steps — figuring out what data you need and how it’s structured, creating the case report forms (CRFs) and computer files to hold your data, and entering and validating your data.

In this chapter, I describe a crucially important component of that process — storing the data properly in your research data base. Different kinds of data can be represented in the computer in different ways. At the most basic level, there are numbers and categories, and most of us can immediately tell the two apart — you don’t have to be a math genius to recognize age as numerical data and gender as categorical info.

So why am I ...

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