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 In Data Analysis Concepts Simplified, Data Resources for Nonprofits, Experts, How To

Both you and your organization strive for data integrity. Not just because it’s mandated by regulations or contract terms, but because it’s the basis for so much you do. Ensuring data integrity is necessary if you hope to effectively quantify, measure, make critical decisions.

So Why Does It Matter?

As I discussed in my post on the hows and whys of data cleaning, the entire survey process aims to help you make evidence-based decisions. And if the data your survey yields is no good, it’s not likely the analysis is going to be worth much more, is it?

You need to be able to rely on your data for reporting and decision-making, including:

  • Establishing strategies
  • Accurately reporting a data-based story
  • Implementing effective operations
  • Maintaining accurate records
  • Conveying honest, detailed information

Data can be incredibly valuable. It helps in uncovering trends, describing events, documenting achievements, improving performance, and controlling outcomes. But all data is not equal. As the flood of data at your disposal rises ever higher, you may well find yourself asking:

“How do I know the data I’ve collected is reliable and trustworthy?”

Testing for Data Integrity

Data is specific to the time it is collected. For this reason, it’s crucial to verify completeness, soundness, and wholeness of stored data, third party data, and new primary data.

There are a number of tests you can use to test data integrity. These tests can help verify whether:

  • A blank value can be retrieved from the database
  • Default values are saved if user input is not specified
  • Strings have been truncated or numeric values rounded
  • Removed records represent defunct, incorrect, or useless data
  • Third party data matches your existing data rules before importing

We’re Here to Help

To help you check and maintain data integrity, we’ve put together a simple 11-step checklist. Download it, save it, share it — just keep it on hand when you work with data.

Have a data collection or analysis project that’s too big for your team to handle? We can help with that too. Drop us a line today so we can discuss your needs and how we can best assist you.


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