Never Taint the Original File

You just completed a data entry masterpiece. The original data you collected from a study has been entered in Excel, Word Pad, or some other form of media. The file contains all the information anyone would need to know about your research. Rows 1 to 1000 represent who participated in the study. Columns 2 to 12 represent the type of information you obtained on each participant. Your data represents a point in time in which someone was running a study.  You are now at the analysis phase of the study and you choose SAS, STATA, SPSS , or R to work on the statistical component of your results. But wait….always remember to work off a copy of your original file. Never ever overwrite your raw data entry while analyzing data. Never ever? NEVER EVER lol!

Why? Because if you make a mistake and there is no back up of the original file- your goose is cooked. Overwrite what an investigator originally documented and kiss your career goodbye. Or spend eternity re-entering the information all over again. That’s if you have a hard copy version of your raw file somewhere…

How can you tell if a file has been modified? Take a look at the modification date in windows explorer. If the date the file was created has changed – something was updated. And it’s probably a good idea that not many people have access to the original file.

 

Just food for thought -Amy

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