Change is inevitable
Changes to questionnaires are inevitable over time. Category labels change. New questions added. Brands and statements added and subtracting from arrays. Tracking studies always comes with changes.
A key principle underlying tracking studies, from a data processing perspective, is that you want all the work you’ve done in previous waves to carry over. No one wants to have to recreate a variable or a dashboard from scratch.
The good news is that, with Crunch, there is a process you can follow to ensure that you only need to deal with the changes.
Solving the alignment problem
When appending new data with changes, you need to align your data. Aligning data means that the variables are correctly updated in dataset A when you append dataset B (the incoming wave).
What is alignment? Alignment is making sure that the information in dataset B is compatible with the information in dataset A.
Crunch does not allow you to make mistakes. You need to properly align data before you merge. If you are receiving error message when trying to append, it’s because Crunch is protecting you from issues down the track.
The good news is that the alignment issue is solved by using Crunch Automation. Crunch Automation can be copied over so that you can ensure that dataset B will align with dataset A in the way that you want. The recommended process for this is outlined below.
Using Crunch Automation to align and append data
- Import Wave 1 as Dataset A
- Script all changes using Crunch Automation (your script is stored)
- Import Wave 2 as Dataset B
- Run Crunch Automation on Dataset B which includes:
- If cumulative data: Set exclusion Dataset B (exclude Wave 1)
- Copy over Crunch Automation script from step 2
- If required: create weight(s) for Wave 2
- Append Dataset B to Dataset A
- Exclusions will be excluded from the append
- Weighting variable(s) will conjoin (provided they have same alias)