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A Four Step Process for

Identifying Missing Data and


Applying Remedies
Step 1: Determine the Type of Missing Data
Step 2: Determine the Extent of Missing Data
Step 3: Diagnose the Randomness of the Missing Data
Processes
Step 4: Select the Imputation Method
Step 1: Determine the Type of
Missing Data
Ignorable Missing Data Three Instances of Ignorable
Specific remedies for Missing Data
missing data are not Taking a sample of the
needed because of the population (probability
allowances for missing sampling)
data are inherent in the Specific design of the data
technique used. collection (a specific
Operating at random condition that leads to the
Explicitly accommodated missing data)
in the technique used Censored Data
Step 1: Determine the Type of
Missing Data
Missing Data Processes that Researcher should anticipate
are not Ignorable the occurrence of these issues
Known procedural factor Research design
(i.e. errors in data entry, Data collection
failure to complete the Remedies are still available
whole questionnaire) for these missing data issues
Unknown (i.e. refusal of
the respondent to disclose
sensitive data)
Step 2: Determine the Extent of
Missing Data
Determine the patterns of the missing data
To determine whether the extent or amount of missing data is low
enough to not affect the results, even if it operates in a
nonrandom manner.

If the extent is low apply any of the remediating approach for

missing data

How low is low enough? primary issue


Step 2: Determine the Extent of
Missing Data
Assessing the Extent and Deleting Individual Cases
Patterns of Missing Data and/or Variables
Percentage of variables with Simple remedy of deleting
missing data for each case cases/variables that has a high
The number of cases with missing level of missing data.
data for each variable If the missing data is concentrated
in a small set of cases and/or
Look for nonrandom patterns variables.
in data Up to the researchers if the
Number of cases with no benefit of deleting the data
missing data on any of the outweighs the cost of having a
smaller sample size.
variables
Rules of Thumb 1
Missing data under 10%
Sufficient number of cases with no
missing data for analysis
Step 3: Diagnose the Randomness
of the Missing Data Processes
Determine the degree of randomness present in the missing data

This will determine what remedy will best fit for the missing data

Missing at Random (MAR) and Missing Completely at Random

(MACR)

MAR requires special method of accommodating a non random component

MCAR can accommodate any type of missing data remedy


Step 3: Diagnose the Randomness
of the Missing Data Processes
Missing Completely At
Missing at Random Random
Observed value of Y truly a random
sample of all Y variables
There are no underlying bias to the
observed data
Cases with missing data and complete
data cannot be distinguished from one
another
Step 3: Diagnose the Randomness
of the Missing Data Processes
Diagnostic Tests for Levels of Randomness
Separating the groups between those with missing data and with complete data.
Determine if there are significant differences between the two groups on other
variables of interest
Significant difference indicate the possibility of non random missing data process

Determining if the missing data can be classified as MCAR


Pattern of the missing data is compared with the pattern expected for a random
missing data process.
No significant differences are found MCAR
Step 4: Select the Imputation
Method

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