Skip to main content

Primary Steps in Analyzing Data: Tasks and Tools for a Systematic Data Exploration

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD,volume 240)

Abstract

Understanding the structure, basic properties and relationships in a given dataset is a fundamental prerequisite for an appropriate statistical analysis. Here, we highlight the major principles of data exploration and provide a roadmap for a systematic and reproducible analysis based on key questions. Using an exemplary dataset on throughfall measurements, we demonstrate how several techniques can be used and evaluated in order to address common tasks of data analysis such as understanding the structure of the dataset, detecting temporal and spatial dependence among observations, identifying outliers and influential observations, checking normality and homogeneity of model residuals and exploring the relationships of variables. Finally, it is discussed when and when not data transformations can be used as potential actions to overcome restrictions in the application of a statistical method. The electronic supplement offers the sample dataset as well as fully documented computer code, which aims to serve as a guideline for conducting an exploratory data analysis using the statistical software environment R.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-26086-6_7
  • Chapter length: 28 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-26086-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 7.1
Fig. 7.2
Fig. 7.3
Fig. 7.4
Fig. 7.5
Fig. 7.6
Fig. 7.7
Fig. 7.8

Notes

  1. 1.

    See the DataONE primer on data management for an overview on how to effectively manage data: https://www.dataone.org/sites/all/documents/DataONE_BP_Primer_020212.pdf

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Martin Zwanzig .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

7.1 Supplementary Electronic Material (S)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Zwanzig, M., Schlicht, R., Frischbier, N., Berger, U. (2020). Primary Steps in Analyzing Data: Tasks and Tools for a Systematic Data Exploration. In: Levia, D.F., Carlyle-Moses, D.E., Iida, S., Michalzik, B., Nanko, K., Tischer, A. (eds) Forest-Water Interactions. Ecological Studies, vol 240. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-26086-6_7

Download citation