Data collection for the purposes of analysis, after the planning and execution of a research study, commences with data input and validation. The process of data entry and analysis may appear daunting to the uninitiated, but as pointed out in the 1970s in a series of papers by British Medical Journal Deputy Editor TDV Swinscow, modern hardware and software (he was then referring to the availability of hand calculators) permits the performance of statistical testing outside a computer laboratory. In this day and age, modern software, such as the ubiquitous and almost universally familiar Microsoft Excel™ greatly facilitates this process. This first paper comprises the first of a collection of papers which will emulate Swinscow's series, in his own words, “addressed to readers who want to start at the beginning, not to those who are already skilled statisticians.” These papers will have less focus on the actual arithmetic, and more emphasis on how to actually implement simple statistics, step by step, using Excel, thereby constituting the equivalent of Swinscow's papers in the personal computer age. Data entry can be facilitated by several underutilised features in Excel. This paper will explain Excel's little-known form function, data validation implementation at input stage, simple coding tips and data cleaning tools.
Early Human Development – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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