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.

Final Thoughts

Here's the problem with this book: Believe it or not, I haven't exhausted all the tools available in Excel. There are all sorts of things you can do with Excel—pivot tables, charts, mailings, flash fill, quick analysis, power view, and on and on—that I haven't touched on because they're not particularly relevant or useful in the context of creating and verifying data sets. I have tried to present every tool available in Excel I think may be really useful to you in that context. However, many of the tools I've discussed will only be useful to you under special circumstances. For example, many researchers never use date-time variables, and most who do never have a problem with them. If you do, though, ...

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