Let’s Be Reasonable

Before you do anything with your data, whether it’s for your own work, or something your team will see, take a look at it first and ask yourself: “Is this reasonable?” Just scroll through your spreadsheet — summarize or use pivot tables if you have a lot of data — and this can alert you to outliers, bad numbers, typos and other things that can ruin your day. A friend once did some great work where age was an important variable, but whenever the people entering the data couldn’t find it, they put in “999” to denote that it was missing. Using age without excluding those records made all the charts and tables and reports wrong because Excel happily factored in people who were 999 years old. A quick scan through the data would have caught this because someone who is 999 is not reasonable. #makeyourdataworkforyou

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