KEY FEATURES: Introduces students to developing research questions and shows their importance in driving research design. Rarely taught topics, such as how to enter and clean data, offer students information missed in both research methods and statistics courses. Shows how to write up survey results for academic, business and nonprofit reports to alleviate the confusion students feel about how to write up findings. Rigorous treatment of sampling focuses on many sampling issues from probability theory to weighting. Offers the process of actually conducting a survey with advice on administering surveys, incentives, and improving response rates.

Do We Need to Plan Ahead for Data Entry, Cleaning, and Analysis?

Do We Need to Plan Ahead for Data Entry, Cleaning, and Analysis?

Erin Ruel

It is important to plan ahead for how to handle the data once it is collected. Many researchers put off planning the data entry, cleaning, and documenting until after data is collected. This is not the most efficient way to do things. A little preplanning or a pilot test (see Q50) will help the post–data collection process run very smoothly.

Several of these post–data collection tasks actually impinge upon the survey itself. For example, in the response categories to survey questions, do we want to allow participants to refuse to answer or to mark “don’t know”? If we do not include them, participants might simply skip the question—leave it blank. If refusals ...

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