By Martha Henry “Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay!” ~ Sherlock Holmes Science depends on data. A large clinical trial like the Botswana Combination Prevention Project (BCPP) depends on lots of data. When the multi-year trial in 30 Botswana villages concludes, researchers hope their data will provide a better understanding of how to prevent HIV infections.
Data cleaning is the process of detecting and correcting bad records in a data file. Much of the early Botswana Combination Prevention Project (BCPP) data came from a baseline household questionnaire. Research Assistants (RAs) interviewed thousands of study participants and recorded their answers on laptops. The use of customized software minimized data entry errors.