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Chapter 2. Basic Data Analysis Techniques > Working with Data Lists

Working with Data Lists

It is important to understand what data lists are and how you should create them. All too often, the structure and field names used in a data list are not given much thought. Not until hundreds or thousands of data records are created do problems arise. These problems might cause the data to become invalid, force the lists to be restructured, and require that someone enter the data records again from the beginning.

Although lists come in all shapes and sizes, data lists are unique because they are highly structured, sharing common field names and data values. For instance, a simple grocery list contains a number of items, but these items amount to little more than notes about product names and quantities. For some items, you might write down a product category rather than a specific product name—you know in your mind what you want to buy—but of course you don’t use the grocery list for hard-core data analysis.


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