Join Robin Hunt for an in-depth discussion in this video What does data look like?, part of Learning Data Analytics.
- So what does data look like? Let's start with types. So Data Types are a classification on one of the various types of data such as real, integer, or Boolean. But, I don't want to oversimplify it but data really only has so many types. Let's take a look at several of them that you'll get familiar with. You have Text or String, things like first name, last name. Date and Time for things like the date of the purchase.
Number which could be used for unique identifiers or how many or how much of something. And then the Boolean, yes or no, true or false, on or off, zeroes or negative ones. Data analysts work with fields and values as well. The Field Headings are what we usually see as the top row or the label of the data. As you look at these examples, be sure to think of their data types. The Field Heading represents what it is and the Value represents what it actually is.
So we have FirstName, LastName, Gender, Name, and EmployeeID. These are all examples of field headings. So the Field Name is FirstName and the Value is Robin. So again, the field heading represents the value but the value is actually the data that we're working with. When you tie all this together, it creates records. So how do you define a record? Well, Wikipedia defines it as "a set of fields "in a database related to one entity." And that's pretty clear.
We usually tie values together to create a record. So let's look at this. All the data is all over the spreadsheet but if we were to create a record out of it, it would look like this. The field headings with the data values that represent that particular person's record. Now remember, you'll have one field heading but you'll have many values. So if you had 80 employees, you would have 80 records. We'll talk more about record counts but that's enough to get you started.
So what does data look like? It looks like data types, field headings, data values, and records.