It’s back to school time. Today there’s a fleet of yellow school buses on the road and the newspapers have been filled with stories of how to pack nutritious lunches and how to encourage conversations with your children and so on. Under the banner then of the well-known phrase “And what did you learn today” and as a testimony to lifelong learning, here goes my true story.
I am not a researcher but I have worked with many a talented person who was. I would hear them speak of ‘scrubbing data’ or ‘cleaning data’. My understanding of what it means is meagre but I get the concept. You take a bunch of information that is stored in a database and through some mysterious process you separate the wheat from the chaff as a farmer would put it, or you remove the extraneous bits and keep the solid data that can be used in your research.
I have discovered a new method for scrubbing data and am putting it out there for researchers to comment upon. Perhaps this eureka moment will save a lot of time for those who toil in the details of data.
Step one: You are the secretary. Using your laptop and a memory stick, take minutes at the Annual General Meeting of a local organization. No paper back up is needed. Good for the environment and efficient too. Save the minutes, the only record of the meeting, on your memory stick.
Step two: Stick the memory stick in your pocket after the meeting (you don’t want to lose it).
Step three: Do laundry. Washer and dryer. Find memory stick in drum of dryer after cycle is complete.
Step four: Sweat. Insert memory stick and find out….ta da!! It works!
Moral of the story, well actually two morals:
1. There is more than one way to scrub data.
2. Those high-efficiency (HE) front loading washers really are gentle on your belongings.
A true story.