Data Explorer Mission 2

Good day, Agents.


A few priority items:

  • How Badges Work. Each week from here on out, at the close of your rendezvous, you’ll be invited to submit your project for a Badge. At first, Mission Control will review your projects before you become Experts, or holders of the Badge. After you become an Expert, you may review the projects of your fellow agents–and Mission Control recommends that you do so. To find out more:
  • Facilitators. You may submit your notes and your reflections from your rendezvous here: You are eligible for this stamp on your dossier: facilitation

Your Next Mission:

Step 1: REALLY LOOK at your data.

  • Is it clean?
  • Are there any duplicates.
  • Is all the data of the same type in each column?
  • Figure out how you’re going to deal with missing values.
  • Does it make sense?

Take a look at Tactical Tech’s Guide on cleaning data if you are unsure of what to look for, or not sure how to correct them.

Step 2: Prep for Mission.

  • BEFORE CLEANING: Let’s get some good practice rolling. You should never edit in the original file – it’s always good to maintain a copy of the original – so you can check what you have done.
    • Record where you got your data from (basically the url and date when you downloaded the file)
    • Make a working copy of each spreadsheet and give it a new name. (I append _workingcopy to the file.)
    • Create a .txt file to act as a lab or data notebook. Take notes on EVERYTHING you do with the data.
  • Questions to ask:
    • What is in the left column? How is the list arranged? Try sorting and filtering different columns – what do you notice? Anything interesting? Take a look at the School of Data course on sorting and filtering if you’re new to spreadsheets:
    • Look for missing or strange values. What do you find?
  • Get cleaning:
    • OK Now we need to make cleaning decisions. For example: Do we want to look at countries, regions, or just the world?
    • MAKE SURE you’re working on the working copy.
    • Anything that you delete or change – record it in your notebook – this is all important for tracking your steps!

Step 3: Step back.

  • Think back to the questions you highlighted in your group. Is it possible to answer any of them just by exploring the data?
  • If YES – congratulations, have a cup of tea and a biscuit. If NO, draw up a list of what further information or steps you would need in order to answer your question. Share them with your group.

IMPORTANT: The most helpful thing you can do is ask. Never be stuck. Other Data Agents may be able to help you if you run into trouble, Agent. Reach out to them as a resource.

Be curious – has someone done something you don’t know how to? Ask them how they did it!

May you emerge successful.
-Mission Control