Getting Your Data into the Computer
In This Chapter
Understanding levels of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio)
Defining and entering different kinds of data into your research database
Making sure your data is accurate
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 ...