Step 7

Capturing your data

There are several ways to capture your data. Using an MS Excel spreadsheet is one convenient way. You can set up the spreadsheet to accept only certain values. This ensures that you do not make entry mistakes. If you are working with a large dataset, containing lots of numbers, then double entry is a must. This means that you, and preferably someone else captures the data on two separate occasions, and then compare to see if there are any mistakes.

Capture your data using codes (ie. Numbers) rather than text. For example for sex, capture 0 or 1 where 0=female; 1=male, rather than F and M. Similarly for worksites, capture 1, 2 or 3 where 1=shaft; 2=surface; 3=face, rather than text. This assists in your analysis later on. But REMEMBER TO KEEP A CODING SHEET OR CODE DICTIONARY! Losing what these codes mean is a disaster later on!

Other means of capturing data include using Epi-Info, also SPSS or STATA, which are available from the University. Our Departmental preference is to use STATA. STATA allows you to capture your data in Excel and then easily import into STATA for analysis. This is the approach our researchers take in the Department. 

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