Handling Data

Managing Data

If you need to create a data file of your survey responses, the best approach may be determined by the analytical tool you plan to use. If you're going to do simple spreadsheet sorts and counts, you might want to enter the data right into a spreadsheet. Some databases and statistical software packages have data entry functions or add-ons that can be used.

Database packages often have components to make data entry easier, and some have simple reporting functions as well (eg Filemaker or MS Access). Or the database can then be exported for analysis using a different tool.

Data can also be entered into a text file (using Notepad on a PC or TextEdit or TextWrangler on a Mac, for example), that can be read by a statistical package.

One of the most flexible options is to enter the data into a spreadsheet, where each row represents a question (or question option, in the case of a "check all that apply" item), and each column represents a respondent. This format can be imported or read directly by many other packages, or the file can be saved as a .txt file.

Analyzing Data

What tool you use to analyze your survey data depends on the purpose of the survey and the kinds of analyses you wish to perform. Simple descriptive summaries can be accomplished with a number of packages, but more sophisticated statistics will require a statistical software package.

Microsoft Excel is a great choice for getting started. This electronic spreadsheet program allows users to enter, store, organize and manipulate date. It can also be used to create charts, pivot tables and for financial analysis.

NCTC currently provides access to Zogotech, which is an excellent interactive data analysis program. Data reports are setup to automatically refresh and publish to Zogotech, so the most current information is available.

Another program to consider is Power BI, a business analytics service provided by Microsoft, that will soon be available. Power BI is an analytic tool to help analyze and visualize data and create reports and dashboards that can also be shared across our organization.

These packages are supported to some degree by ITS, so you wouldn't want to purchase anything before checking into availability and access. Access to both Zogotech and Power BI would need to be requested by submitting a ticket to ITS with supervisor approval.