Data Analytics Blog

Excel File Setup for Analysis

June 24th, 2019 by boxplot

Excel gives you a lot of flexibility when creating files and starting projects, and we’re often asked what the “best” solution is for keeping things organized. This post will review what we recommend. As with everything in life, there may be a few exceptions where you’ll want to set up your file differently. However, this […]

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100th Anniversary of Variance

December 27th, 2018 by boxplot

This year (2018) is the 100th anniversary of a paper by R. A. Fisher, which introduced the statistical term “variance”. Variance is one of the toughest concepts in statistics, but it’s crucially important. Variance tells you how spread out your data are (yep, “are”; the word “data” is plural!). First, let’s get some terminology out of […]

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Free Datasets

December 18th, 2018 by boxplot

A list of freely available data on the web. The first list is sites we think are the best for accessing quality datasets. Below that are additional sources by category. Best Sources Kaggle By far our personal favorite! There are dozens if not hundreds of quality datasets available here. ICPSR You have to create an account, […]

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Formatting Charts in Excel

March 31st, 2018 by boxplot

Formatting charts in Excel is no easy task. It’s time-consuming, and Excel is pretty fussy which doesn’t make things easier. In this post I’ll give general tips for formatting charts, and also go over a few common scenarios. Understand the Parts of a Chart First thing’s first: it’s important to get the syntax down pat […]

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Grouping in PivotTables

March 27th, 2018 by boxplot

Grouping in PivotTables is a way of combining data to perform analyses without having to use functions. You can group numeric columns to turn them into categories, you can group date columns by date ranges to get even intervals, and you can group text columns to put together similar values. We’ll go through all three […]

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Tables & Linking Data Structures in Excel

March 26th, 2018 by boxplot

Tables are one of the most important features of Excel, but are often overlooked. Tables and keeping analyses in Excel connected, will drastically increase your efficiency in Excel. Let’s start by understanding how they work with PivotTables. We’re going to use an R Dataset called DoctorContacts. Download the .csv file using this link (and save […]

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Make a Bubble Plot in Excel

March 15th, 2018 by boxplot

Most people don’t know that bubble plots even exist in Excel. In this blog post, we’ll walk through how to take advantage of these very effective charts! They are great for comparing three quantitative variables at once. For a nice intro to bubble plots, check out Hans Rosling’s very famous Ted Talk. If you don’t […]

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Using DB Browser for SQLite

March 13th, 2018 by boxplot

DB Browser for SQLite (it’s also called SQLite Browser for short) is an excellent tool for practicing SQL without having to get connected to a real live server. This post will walk through how to install, open, and use SQLite Browser. Install SQLite Browser Go to the SQLite Browser website and choose the download for […]

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Understanding JOINs in SQL

March 8th, 2018 by boxplot

Joins in SQL Joins are one of the most important (if not THE most important) concepts in SQL. If you take the time to solidly understand how joins work, you’ll be in an excellent place for writing queries. So, let’s dive in! Join Definitions Joining tables in SQL is a way of combining them. It […]

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What is SQL?

March 8th, 2018 by boxplot

What is SQL? Currently, if you Google this question, you’ll get a whole slew of technical articles that aren’t very helpful for understanding just what SQL is and when people use it. We’ll break that down in this blog post. This is a high level overview – if you want to understand how to actually […]

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