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Survey Info

As I promised in class, here are a few tips for playing around with your data in Excel:

  1. Auto-Sorting Columns: Once you've got your file open, if you go to the Data menu in your menubar and select Filter > Auto-Filter, you will then get little drop-down menu buttons in the first row of each column. If you click on these little widgets, you get a menu with a bunch of sorting options. In particular, "Sort Ascending" or "Sort Descending" are useful. This makes it much easier to see the distribution of responses to any given question and allows you to jump question to question and sort your data in a convenient way for each question.

  2. Hiding Columns: A lot of times you'll want to compare how people responded to two different questions. This is easy if the two questions are right next to one another (like QParty and QLibConEcon), but can be difficult if you want to compare, say, QParty and QGovtTrust, which are far apart. What you can do, however, is "hide" the columns in between these two. Here's how:
    • You can select an entire column by clicking on Excel's header row for that column - I'm not exactly sure what the name for this row really is, but it'll be something like "H" or "AD" or "BN" etc.

    • Once you've got a column selected, go to the Format menu and select Column > Hide. Now that column is hidden - you didn't delete it, it's still there!

    • To hide multiple columns, simply select multiple columns. For example, if you want to hide BA through BL, click on BA, then (without clicking on anything else!) scroll over to BL, hold down your shift key and then click on BL. All of those columns are now selected. Then go Format > Column > Hide, and you've hidden those columns.

    • To Unhide your hidden columns, the easiest thing to do is just select all the columns (By either selecting Select All from the Edit menu or by typing "control-A" - or "command-A" on a Mac) and then going Format > Columns > Unhide. All of your columns are now visible.

    So if you want to compare QParty and QGovtTrust, just select all the columns in between the two, hide them and then you can look at the two variables you're interested in right next to one another.

  3. If you don't have Excel on your computer, as a U of M student you can actually get a free copy of Microsoft Office - Here's the info on how to do this. Alternatively, you could try the free, open source OpenOffice, which can do all of these things I described above just as well as Excel.

Like I said, Excel is not a data analysis program and if we had endless time and resources, I'd devote several class periods to doing this in a real statistical program. However, I'm not expecting anything like that - plus you've only got ten respondents each, so this should be manageable if not perfect.

Also, a quick reminder that the due date was moved forward one class period to give you more time to work on this, so the report is now due on Tuesday, October 31. (Again, this is also the day your three blog posts for October are due as well, so plan ahead accordingly.)

If you've got any questions about the survey at all, ask them ASAP. If you think your questions may be relevant for others as well, post your question here in the Comments thread for this entry by clicking on Comments below.