HIST 390 Blog Post #5

Primary sources, like the source we used for the Tidying Data set can be helpful when collecting data. My group and I looked at all of the categories, like “name”, “donor”, and “donation” in order to tidy our data. Categories in primary sources like these are helpful so that data can be tidied in an organized way in a spreadsheet. Also, knowing other categories from primary sources are useful to tidy, such as date of birth, and date of death. There are a lot of these types of categories in other types of primary sources, so that way it can be easier to put in data into a spreadsheet.

There are some advantages to using a primary source as data. One advantage is that it has information from first-hand experiences, and that we can have access to having first-hand information. Even if there are not explicit categories, looking at a primary source as data can help make the data more accurate. This is likely because people who recorded the information can include details that secondary sources would not be able to.

Wickham has some principles of tidy data. One of these is that every variable is a column. Another principle is that every observation is a row. There is one type of observational unit per dataset. My group and I referenced these principles when it came to making our tidy dataset. These principles helped us to organize our data and understand how to include certain categories and to not include others.

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