Rules of being a postgrad #1

Good data file keeping means having an original Excel spreadsheet with the data laid out by condition separately. As a supervisor you just want to be able to cut and paste it into SPSS without having to re-arrange the data. That makes it easy to work out means for each column in Excel. Variable names should be easily understood.

This is how you should always do it.

I found out a couple of weeks ago that we’re suppose to keep this original file in an unmodified condition….this I did not know. When writing manuscripts or during resubmission I do tend to go back and forth between the Excel file and SPSS and use Excel to do any additional basic calculations, such as standard deviations, and use Excel to calculate mean age, etc. I guess I’d get a slap on the wrist for that.

So, I’m trying to teach my students to keep a nice tidy original file.

This is much harder than it sounds.

I have requested this EIGHT times from one of my postgrads. And each time I get either an SPSS file with the data not laid out correctly, or an Excel file with every participant response for each stimulus, instead of the mean.

I not only want them to learn good data file keeping, but, quite simply, I want to be able to cut and paste the data out of Excel into SPSS the way I would like to lay the data out. That way I can understand it.

I am still waiting for this much anticipated file….I shouldn’t need theory of mind to work out someone else’s bizarre record keeping

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