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Main ConceptsData are numbers with context. And the first job of the data analyst is to put an often haphazard-looking list of numbers into a context. Doing this requires summarizing the data. Summaries will by necessity attempt to communicate the "essence" of a variable, but at the expense of discarding other information. A good summary of the data will offer insight into the central questions for which the data were collected and will guide future analyses.
POD: Chapters 3 and 4