Data from real sources is rarely error free. pspp has a number of procedures which can be used to help identify data which might be incorrect.

The `DESCRIPTIVES`

command (see DESCRIPTIVES) is used to generate
simple linear statistics for a dataset. It is also useful for
identifying potential problems in the data.
The example file `physiology.sav` contains a number of physiological
measurements of a sample of healthy adults selected at random.
However, the data entry clerk made a number of mistakes when entering
the data.
descriptives illustrates the use of `DESCRIPTIVES`

to screen this
data and identify the erroneous values.

PSPP> get file='/usr/local/share/pspp/examples/physiology.sav'. PSPP> descriptives sex, weight, height. Output: DESCRIPTIVES. Valid cases = 40; cases with missing value(s) = 0. +--------#--+-------+-------+-------+-------+ |Variable# N| Mean |Std Dev|Minimum|Maximum| #========#==#=======#=======#=======#=======# |sex #40| .45| .50| .00| 1.00| |height #40|1677.12| 262.87| 179.00|1903.00| |weight #40| 72.12| 26.70| -55.60| 92.07| +--------#--+-------+-------+-------+-------+ |

**Example 5.2: Using the DESCRIPTIVES command to display simple
summary information about the data.
In this case, the results show unexpectedly low values in the Minimum
column, suggesting incorrect data entry.**

In the output of Example 5.2,
the most interesting column is the minimum value.
The `weight` variable has a minimum value of less than zero,
which is clearly erroneous.
Similarly, the `height` variable's minimum value seems to be very low.
In fact, it is more than 5 standard deviations from the mean, and is a
seemingly bizarre height for an adult person.
We can examine the data in more detail with the `EXAMINE`

command (see EXAMINE):

In examine you can see that the lowest value of `height` is
179 (which we suspect to be erroneous), but the second lowest is 1598
which
we know from the `DESCRIPTIVES`

command
is within 1 standard deviation from the mean.
Similarly the `weight` variable has a lowest value which is
negative but a plausible value for the second lowest value.
This suggests that the two extreme values are outliers and probably
represent data entry errors.

[... continue from Example 5.2]
```
PSPP> examine height, weight /statistics=extreme(3).
```
Output: #===============================#===========#=======# # #Case Number| Value # #===============================#===========#=======# #Height in millimetres Highest 1# 14|1903.00# # 2# 15|1884.00# # 3# 12|1801.65# # ----------#-----------+-------# # Lowest 1# 30| 179.00# # 2# 31|1598.00# # 3# 28|1601.00# # ----------#-----------+-------# #Weight in kilograms Highest 1# 13| 92.07# # 2# 5| 92.07# # 3# 17| 91.74# # ----------#-----------+-------# # Lowest 1# 38| -55.60# # 2# 39| 54.48# # 3# 33| 55.45# #===============================#===========#=======# |

**Example 5.3: Using the EXAMINE command to see the extremities of the data
for different variables. Cases 30 and 38 seem to contain values
very much lower than the rest of the data.
They are possibly erroneous.**