Guide for dealing with bad data

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Enter the real world of data and statistics, and you find that files aren’t always neatly wrapped with a bow and delimited fields. Christopher Groskopf, who recently joined Quartz, provides an “exhaustive reference” to deal with the real stuff.

Most of these problems can be solved. Some of them can’t be solved and that means you should not use the data. Others can’t be solved, but with precautions you can continue using the data. In order to allow for these ambiguities, this guide is organized by who is best equipped to solve the problem: you, your source, an expert, etc. In the description of each problem you may also find suggestions for what to do if that person can’t help you.

The guide is aimed at journalists but easily applies to general data meanderings. I think we can all easily relate to problems such as missing data (“Where did the rest go?”), sample bias (“The population is who?”), and data in a difficult-to-manage format (“They gave you how many PDF files?”).

Bookmark it, read it, and keep it in your digital pocket.

Favorites

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2014

It’s always tough to pick my favorite visualization projects. Nevertheless, I gave it a go.

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.

Marrying Age

People get married at various ages, but there are definite trends that vary across demographic groups. What do these trends look like?