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9 Preparing Survey Data for Analysis

Survey answers usually are transformed into data files for computer analysis. This chapter describes options and good practice for data formats, code development, coding procedures and management, data entry, and data checking procedures. Once data have been collected by a survey, no matter what the methods, they almost invariably must be translated into a form appropriate for analysis by computer. This chapter is about the process of taking completed questionnaires and survey interviews and putting them into a form that can be read and processed by a computer. The process of coding or data reduction involves five separate phases: deciding on a format (the way the data will be organized in a file) designing the code (the rules by which a respondent's answers will be assigned values that can be processed by machine) coding (the process of turning responses into standard categories) data entry (putting the data into computer readable ...

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