9Understanding Data

Previous chapters have introduced the basic programming fundamentals for working with data, detailing how you can tell a computer to do data processing for you. To use a computer to analyze data, you need to both access a data set and interpret that data set so that you can ask meaningful questions about it. This will enable you to transform raw data into actionable information.

This chapter provides a high-level overview of how to interpret data sets as you get started doing data science—it details the sources of data you might encounter, the formats that data may take, and strategies for determining which questions to ask of that data. Developing a clear mental model of what the values in a data set signify is a necessary ...

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