Working with Survey Data in Excel


This toolkit is part of a larger effort by DataShift to strengthen organisational capacity to work with data in an actionable way through the Data for Action programme. It was developed to serve as a guide for organisations in thinking critically about survey data using spreadsheets. The instructions contained in this manual are designed specifically for data entry by a single user using one computer at a time nd is not intended to be applicable for large-scale data collection utilising multiple data entry personnel on multiple devices.

This toolkit has been designed to fit two purposes:

  • As a quick reference for common functions and tools when working with survey data in Excel
  • As a guide for beginners working with survey data and Excel for the first time

What’s in the tool

The toolkit invites the reader to think critically about data while minimising decision-making during research; it takes us through a journey that starts with data entry to data cleaning and analysis. Data visualisation and communication are also covered in this guide, that also includes data security tips and checklists, and other useful techniques for your organisation.  


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