Magazine article Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal

Ask Ire

Magazine article Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal

Ask Ire

Article excerpt

Q: What is a data diary, and why should I use one?

Á: Get in the habit of writing a data diary on every project, even smaller ones.

A data diary is a document that details where and when you got the data you're working with, the steps you took to clean or reformat it, and specific analysis steps, including your Excel process, code snippets or SQL queries. Also use it to write down any interesting results, questions or story ideas that come up during your analysis, so you can remember them later.

You can see an example of a data diary at bit. ly/IREdatadiary, thanks to member Christian McDonald of the Austin American- Statesman.

If you're a programmer, tools such as coding notebooks make this easier, but you can also use a text file or Google Doc - whatever you are comfortable with in your workflow. …

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