Posts Tagged ‘data’

Starting the new year off with… data entry

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Another semester come and gone. While this puts me closer to graduating (YES!) it means my thesis is due in three months (EK!). While this semester won’t be as busy as my last, I will have other things to worry about. (What am I going to do after I graduate? Will my GPA be high enough? What advanced will I make in my knowledge transfer research project? Yikes, yikes, yikes.)

The semester has started off well, and I managed to enter the data from the 96 surveys I collected as part of my thesis research over the weekend. Now comes the next part: figuring out what it means.

The hardest part about the data entry, after figuring out how I wanted to lay it out in Excel, was interpreting some of the responses. If you ask a “yes or no” question, and the participant fills in 4/5 as “yes” and leaves the other blank, does that mean their answer is “no”?

I haven’t made any assumptions yet, but a lot of the surveys have minor issues like that. Another example is a question that asked to put a check mark beside the item that the respondent used most. Many respondents checked more than one answer! How do I deal with that?

I guess focusing on these somewhat trivial decisions lets me steer clear of actually trying to make sense of the aggregated responses. Time to get back to work and start crunching these numbers!!

Categories: Research Tags: ,

Data collection: A lesson in time management

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

With my survey and experiment less starting in less than two hours, I am finally feeling like things are under control.

“Just a short survey, conducting it is not a big deal,” I thought. Boy, was I wrong! The printing went smoothly, but there were additional hours I hadn’t anticipated. Folding 200 surveys takes longer than you’d think! And then I had to staple them too (three pages fold together to form a booklet).

I did get some things done ahead of schedule: The psychology department kindly lent me a box of golf pencils, I quickly used EViews to get a random number list, and my #1 assistant (i.e., my mother) got the 200 toonies for me from the bank. All seemed to be on track.

The experiment part of tonight’s research involves giving participants $2 as compensation for completing the survey. The $2 is given in three different ways. This is the part that I left to the last minute to actually put together (big mistake!).

One group of surveys has the $2 coin attached to the back, the second group has a voucher attached to the back, and the third group tells the participant to hand in their survey and that they “could donate [their compensation] to The Commons.” The random number list assigns a type of survey with the participant (much more high-tech than it sounds).

After three or four hours of tedious work this afternoon everything is on track! Somehow I managed to get everything done–most likely because I’ve been working away at bits of it all week. The lesson? Things always take longer than you think they will; be sure to leave some buffer room.

Time to have a cup of tea and enjoy the calm before the storm!