Blog Archives

A simple amortization function

August 29, 2013
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I was working on a project yesterday where I needed to amortize out a bunch of loans to calculate the total interest a borrower would pay if he or she paid the minimum monthly payment for the full term of the loan. I couldn’t find any package in R that already contained the necessary math,

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Quickly read Excel (xlsx) worksheets into R on any platform

June 20, 2013
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I wrote a couple days about about importing Excel files into R. There are lots of ways to do this, but all the ways that use only R have drawbacks (as I outlined in my last post), and all the other ways require installation of programs other than R. I’m not opposed to using programs

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Quickly read Excel worksheets into R (Windows only…sorry)

June 18, 2013
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I suppose most companies use the Microsoft Office suite of programs, and my office is no exception. It easy to import data from an API or a database into R, but importing data from an Excel workbook is a different story. There are a few R packages for reading Excel files, but I’ve had problems

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Bottom-up creation of data-driven capabilities: show don’t tell

December 5, 2012
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Bottom-up creation of data-driven capabilities: show don’t tell

I’ve been writing lately on what to do when people who make decisions in an organization say they want data-driven capabilities but then ignore or attack the results of data-driven analysis for not saying what they think the data ought to say. Some of the most productive things you can do in that situation include

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Bottom-up creation of data-driven capabilities: automate your work

November 15, 2012
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My previous post on how to transform an organization into a more data-driven version of itself made a pretty big assumption that often doesn’t hold true. I assumed that people in the organization wanted their company or agency to become more data-driven. I think almost everyone says they want that if asked. I even think

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Some helps for running and evaluating Bayesian regression models

September 21, 2012
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Around two years ago, I suddenly realized my statistical training had a great big Bayes-shaped hole in it. My formal education in statistics was pretty narrow – I got my degree in anthropology, a discipline not exactly known for its rigorously systematic analytic methods. I learned the basics of linear models and principal components analysis

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Slightly-more-than-basic sentiment analysis

September 14, 2012
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I became interested in sentiment analysis a few months ago as a matter of pure practicality. The company I work for does a lot of customer-satisfaction surveys. Respondents rate various aspects of our products, but they also have the opportunity to answer a bunch of open-ended questions in their own voices. That kind of information

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Automatic cleaning of messy text data

September 13, 2012
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Surveys measure what people do, not what people think

April 13, 2012
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In my previous post, I wrote about ways scale choice could distort the ways survey results portray the things they are supposed to measure. This certainly isn’t a new issue – researchers who use surveys often go to great lengths to ensure that their surveys are valid and reliable, which in this context usually means

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Surveys, Assumptions, and the Need for Data Collection Alternatives

April 2, 2012
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Surveys, Assumptions, and the Need for Data Collection Alternatives

This is a long post. My previous posts have mostly been about my thoughts on various research subjects. This one reports an actual analysis. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here are the highlights: We really need to stop using surveys so much. If we have to use surveys, it’s probably best

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