Practicing data analysis? Get some fun data into Minitab.

Cody Steele 03 August, 2011

When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;Data analysis is easier when you use Minitab. But before we can practice statistics in Minitab, the data has to be there. So for this post, we’re going to try getting some data into Minitab. Fortunately, data’s all around us and you can choose something that appeals to you.

One of my favorite things is literature. I think that one of the great things about, and other sites that collect great works of literature and provide them on the Internet for free, is that they provide us with wonderful data sets.

I know, I know, I should be saying how grateful I am that the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius is now available to me at the click of a mouse. I should be trumpeting the availability of the beauty of lines from Wordsworth. But the truth of the matter is that even before Mosteller and Wallace studied the authorship of the Federalist Papers, literature was a great way to practice statistics.

Let’s look at getting data from Bartleby:

  1. Copy "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" from Bartleby.
  2. Paste the text into the first column of the Minitab worksheet, C1. When Minitab asks you how, paste the text as a single column.
  3. Open Calc > Calculator.
  4. Type a name in the Store result in variable box and enter Len(c1) as the expression.

    Formula that calculates the number of characters in a column: len






There it is, a data set that shows the number of characters in each line of the poem, including spaces:

Example of the result in the worksheet
There are of course, many other ways to get data to analyze. Free data sets are all over the internet. What are some of the things you like? What kind of data sets would inspire you to practice statistics?