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R in Action, Second Edition: Data analysis and graphics with R by Robert Kabacoff

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Chapter 4. Basic data management

This chapter covers

  • Manipulating dates and missing values
  • Understanding data type conversions
  • Creating and recoding variables
  • Sorting, merging, and subsetting datasets
  • Selecting and dropping variables

In chapter 2, we covered a variety of methods for importing data into R. Unfortunately, getting your data in the rectangular arrangement of a matrix or data frame is only the first step in preparing it for analysis. To paraphrase Captain Kirk in the Star Trek episode “A Taste of Armageddon” (and proving my geekiness once and for all), “Data is a messy business—a very, very messy business.” In my own work, as much as 60% of the time I spend on data analysis is focused on preparing the data for analysis. I’ll ...

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