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DONT YOU THINK IF I WERE

WRONG, ID KNOW IT?


Childs Play, Learning, and Development Lab
Brian Verdine, Ph.D.
University of Delaware

THE CIRCLE OF LAB


We create questions that new data can answer (planning)
Generate new data that will answer our questions (data collection)
Understand what our data actually tells us (analysis)
Talk about our data and create interventions (dissemination)
Use existing data to generate new questions (planning)

What word is in every bullet point?

DATA!!!!!!!

Everything we do in the lab is in an effort to find


truth from data

RESPECT THE DATA


What are our primary concerns about data?
It has to be:

Accurate
Measure what we think it is measuring
Easy to find when we need it
Easy for others to understand how it was generated

Be careful!!!

HOW CAN WE ACCOMPLISH


THIS?

Data is precious and irreplaceable


Label everything
Follow back-up and save procedures

Mistakes and losing data is a WASTE


How many person-hours down the drain for each participant?

Ask questions
Do more than follow instructions, understand what you are doing
Stop to ask if anything does not seem right
Problems only get bigger
Most data problems hard to detect; small concerns uncover bigger problems

Be proactive
Solve problems before they are problems

BEING CAREFUL: YOU AND


EXCEL
Every time you open a datasheet and do something in it, there is the
potential that you could make a mistake
Most mistakes are just that honest, simple mistakes
But many mistakes are catastrophic!
This is not hyperbole

SMALL MISTAKES BIG


CONSEQUENCES
Participant

Height (cm)

Weight (lbs)

Participant

Height (cm)

Weight (lbs)

106

144

110

100

149

135

104

145

135

101

198

247

112

145

105

102

189

196

109

147

140

103

193

216

100

149

135

104

145

135

120

151

156

105

172

174

107

157

173

106

144

110

105

172

174

107

157

173

115

179

183

108

196

229

114

180

192

109

147

140

113

184

188

110

186

195

110

186

195

111

189

210

117

186

199

112

145

105

102

189

196

113

184

188

COPY/PASTE ERROR
Participant

Height (cm)

Weight (lbs)

Participant

Height (cm)

Weight (lbs)

100

149

135

100

135

101

198

247

101

149

247

102

189

196

102

198

196

103

193

216

103

189

216

104

145

135

104

193

135

105

172

174

105

145

174

106

144

110

106

172

110

107

157

173

107

144

173

108

196

229

108

157

229

109

147

140

109

196

140

110

186

195

110

147

195

111

189

210

111

186

210

112

145

105

112

189

105

113

184

188

113

145

188

114

180

192

114

184

192

TYPING ERRORS (3% ERROR


RATE)
Participant

Height (cm)

Weight (lbs)

Participant

Height (cm)

Weight (lbs)

100

149

135

100

149

135

101

198

247

101

198

247

102

189

196

102

189

196

103

193

216

103

193

216

104

145

135

104

145

135

105

172

174

105

172

174

106

144

110

106

144

110

107

157

173

107

157

173

108

196

229

108

169

229

109

147

140

109

147

140

110

186

195

110

186

195

111

189

210

111

189

210

112

145

105

112

145

105

113

184

188

113

184

188

114

180

192

114

108

192

ESSENTIALLY

Everything can be
going smooth, you
do one thing wrong
in a database
and

FIXING ERRORS
Do not fix errors in a dataset without really understanding:
1. What caused the error to begin with
2. The extent of the damage

Partially fixing a problem when you dont know the extent of the problem
can make it:
. Harder to detect other problems
. Impossible to fix the entire problem

FIXING A COPY/PASTE ERROR


Participa Height
nt
(cm)

Weight
(lbs)

Participa Height
nt
(cm)

100

149

135

100

101

198

247

101

102

189

196

103

193

104

Weight
(lbs)

Participa Height
nt
(cm)

Weight
(lbs)

135

100

149

135

149

247

101

149

247

102

198

196

102

198

196

216

103

189

216

103

189

216

145

135

104

193

135

104

193

135

105

172

174

105

145

174

105

145

174

106

144

110

106

172

110

106

172

110

107

157

173

107

144

173

107

144

173

108

196

229

108

157

229

108

157

229

109

147

140

109

196

140

109

196

140

110

186

195

110

147

195

110

147

195

111

189

210

111

186

210

111

186

210

112

145

105

112

189

105

112

189

105

113

184

188

113

145

188

113

145

188

114

180

192

114

184

192

114

184

192

SPECIFIC STEPS FOR OUR LAB


We have procedures for careful training and accountability
Double entry of all data
Only begin entering a participant if you can complete the entry
All cells should have something in them when you are done (missing data
codes)

Data tracking and confidentiality procedures

HOW YOU CAN HELP BEYOND


FOLLOWING PROCEDURES
Understand the data think while working with data ask questions:
What does each variable represent?
What type of data is it?
Interval/ratio, ordinal (ordered categories), nominal (arbitrary categories)

What are the possible values and what do they mean?


What is the number format and what units should I enter?

Be constantly aware that any kind of data loss or procedure resulting in errors is a
MAJOR problem and should be addressed with the lab manager immediately

Accuracy >>>>>>> Speed

THE ENTIRE POINT OF


SCIENCE
is to gather information until you understand how the world works
If we want to be wrong, there are easier ways
Please, please, please do not be afraid to admit mistakes
Always make ethical decisions when working with data
Our results influence how people live their lives, how taxes are spent on
education, how research dollars are spent, the careers of lab personnel, etc.

SO LETS BE CAREFUL OUT


THERE AND AVOID DATA
CATASTROPHES