To gain meaningful results from a research effort, data must be collected and then analyzed correctly. While rigorous research methods must be adhered to during the data collection process, similar efforts must be made to assure data are handled correctly during analysis.
The importance of thorough screening and proofing cannot be overestimated. In computerized data management there are numerous opportunities to err. If one does not examine the data carefully, valid results may not be obtained (1).
This article will present the first two steps in the statistical management of data: proofing and screening. Proofing refers to the clerical steps required, such as checking for recording errors and making sure data recorded manually are attached to the correct subjects, observations and variables when entered into a computer. Screening refers to technical data management such as checking that the data conform to the mathematical assumptions necessary for subsequent analysis.
© 1993 American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists