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Preparing Data for Analysis Using Microsoft Excel
  1. Alan C. Elliott,
  2. Linda S. Hynan,
  3. Joan S. Reisch,
  4. Janet P. Smith
  1. 1From the Department of Clinical Sciences (A.C.E., L.S.H., J.S.R., J.P.S.), Division of Biostatistics, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Dallas, TX
  1. Address correspondence to: Alan C. Elliott, Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Biostatistics, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Dallas, TX 75390; tel: 214-648-2712; fax: 214-648-7673; e-mail: alan.elliott{at}


A critical component essential to good research is the accurate and efficient collection and preparation of data for analysis. Most medical researchers have little or no training in data management, often causing not only excessive time spent cleaning data but also a risk that the data set contains collection or recording errors. The implementation of simple guidelines based on techniques used by professional data management teams will save researchers time and money and result in a data set better suited to answer research questions. Because Microsoft Excel is often used by researchers to collect data, specific techniques that can be implemented in Excel are presented.

Key Words
  • data collection
  • database management system
  • research design
  • pilot projects
  • informatics
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