Ways of organizing data

We are very flexible about entering data on one variable because it can be interpreted easily whether it is in just a list or a row or a column. So you may paste any of those in our data boxes.

Professional statistical software (Minitab, JMP, SAS, R, SPSS, etc.) is written to allow a knowledgeable user to use sophisticated techniques easily. Knowledgeable users enter their data in a grid - like a spreadsheet. These Visualize applets are educational software which are designed to help you come to understand concepts with which the professional users are already familiar. Thus we are allowing you to enter data in more informal ways than a grid. But you must learn very quickly to think of data in a grid, no matter how you are looking at it at the moment.

When the data includes two variables, it is more complex and the grid method of viewing the data allows us to communicate that easily. In these applets, we made the compromise of allowing two-variable data to be entered into a text-box as well and the applet will interpret it as well as it can (which is quite well if it was originally organized in a table and you used "copy and paste" from there.) This allows you to copy and paste in two-variable data from any table - whether the data is given in rows or in columns. It is not unusual for printed data on two variables to be given "across" rather than "down"which is why we allow this.

Datasets with three variables or more must be entered in the "stacked" form, where each row represents the values for one individual. That is the "grid" method used by statisticians.


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