Dealing with an ocean of data can be exhausting and intimidating.
Just as you would if caught in a rip current, know your options, survey the situation and stay calm.
Prep work and a few questions/answers can help.
- Is the data exported in a format that can be easily filtered and sorted?
If not, can the exported data be converted into a format that can? (usually an .xlsx file)
- What is the goal (use case) for the data?
What will the data be used for? Research? Standardization? Clean up? Itemizing?
- Preserve the original data.
Save the original file (adding a primary key, e.g. row number). Make a working copy of the original file to use for processing.
- Groom the data.
Ask the people who will be working on the data to review the file for the intended goal:
a) Will ALL data be needed/used?
e.g. pharmacy data is exported, if working on clinical drugs, will drug supplies be used?
If not, these can be deleted from the working file
b) Are there lines of invalid/illegible data?
c) Does any of the data need additional explanation?
- Ask for assistance if you feel like you are drowning!