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Chapter 2. Basic Data Analysis > FREQUENCY DISTRIBUTIONS

2.2. FREQUENCY DISTRIBUTIONS

2.2.1. Sorting and Counting Data

One of the most important aspects when dealing with data is that they are effectively organized and transformed in order to convey the essential information contained in them. This processing of the original data helps to display the inherent meaning in a way that is more accessible for intuition. But before advancing to the graphical presentation of the data, we first describe the methods of structuring data.

Suppose that we are interested in a particular variable that can assume a set of either finite or infinitely many values. These values may be qualitative or quantitative by nature. In either case, the initial step when obtaining a data sample for some variable is to sort the values of each observation and then to determine the frequency distribution of the data set. This is done simply by counting the number of observations for each possible value of the variable. Alternatively, if the variable can assume values on all or part of the real line, the frequency can be determined by counting the number of observations that fall into nonoverlapping intervals partitioning the real line.


  

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