Data Structure Best Practices
- Each variable forms a column.
- Each observation forms a row.
- Each type of observational unit forms a table.
Common Data Structure Defects
- Column headers are values, not variable names.
- Multiple variables are stored in one column.
- Variables are stored in both rows and columns.
- Multiple types of observational units are stored in the same table.
- A single observational unit is stored in multiple tables.
Spreadsheet Best Practices
- Format data standardized and consistent (like dates and currencies).
- Keep table headers standardized and consistent (lowercase, underscored).
- Keep file names standardized and consistent.
- Deliver your spreadsheets as CSV files instead of XLS files.
- Deliver your spreadsheets as UTF-8 formatted.
Common Spreadsheet Defects
- Introductory and other unnecessary text.
- Missing column header.
- Multiple column header lines.
- Comments in columns where values should be.
- Formatting on text and background of cells.
- Empty columns and rows for layout purposes.
- Connected cells between spreadsheets.
- Formulas to transform values in cells.
- Auto-formatting of values in cells (like dates and currencies).
- Hidden columns (either show them when necessary or delete them).
- Multiple tables on one spreadsheet.