Many texts are available to help graduate students and researchers design studies, understand statistical methods, and conduct analyses using standard software, but little exists that helps with the creation of data sets. Microsoft Excel has evolved into a remarkably sophisticated data entry and statistical analysis system, with an extensive toolkit that can make these processes efficient and accurate. This is a practical step-by-step guide to using Excel in the data preparation process. The book includes plentiful screenshots, text boxes summarizing important points, examples from across the social sciences, and questions at the end of each chapter. In addition, a sample dataset will be available online for students to download and use for all the examples and exercises throughout the text. This brief book is intended to familiarize students, teachers, and researchers with the Excel toolkit, and provide strategies that ease the task of data creation and analysis.

Data Transformations

Introduction to Excel Formulas

Excel formulas can be powerful tools for improving each step in the data entry and verifying process, so before talking about data entry and verification I want to introduce you to formulas. Once again, I won't be surprised if many of you already have experience with the topic and are familiar with some, or even most, of this information, but I suspect everyone will be able to learn one or two useful tips from this chapter.

Normal data entry involves placing a value in each cell. Excel formulas instead involve placing a rule in the cell that returns some value based on other information. That value can change if the information on which it's based changes.

Figure 4.1 provides an example ...

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