Storing and manipulating your data.

CogStat is designed not to edit data but only to run the statistical analysis. You must store and edit your data in other software packages and import your data to CogStat.

  • One option to store and edit the data is to use a spreadsheet program (e.g., LibreOffice Calc or Microsoft Excel), where basic analyses and data manipulations can also be performed. Spreadsheet packages are very powerful for data manipulation and they are also surprisingly appropriate for simple (and sometimes for more complex) statistical analysis.
  • Also, you can use various statistical packages to manipulate your data and store it in various file formats. This can be ideal if you mainly use other statistical software but want to use the analyses available in CogStat to make your work more efficient and precise.

Key features of the imported data

In CogStat, variables have three key properties that have to be set: their names, their measurement levels, and, obviously, the data values themselves.

Technical constraints of variable names and data values

Only English letters, numbers, and underscore characters are supported at the moment in variable names and in values. Other characters may work in some cases, but it is better to avoid those other characters in your data because, in some cases, CogStat may not be able to run the analysis.

Measurement levels

Like in any other statistical software, variables can be nominal, ordinal, or interval. (If you have ratio data, then handle it as an interval variable.)

In CogStat, it is essential to set the measurement levels because automatic data processing heavily relies on that information to decide what analyses to run.

In some software packages, you cannot set the measurement levels, and this information will not be available when you import your data. See below how CogStat will handle your data when the measurement level is not available. If this causes an issue, use any other software that can handle measurement levels to store them with your data.

CogStat handles string variables as nominal, even if other measurement level was set in your data source. So string variables will be set to nominal, no matter what measurement level was given formerly.

If the measurement level is not available, it will be set as unk (unknown), and for convenience reasons, in most analyses, it will be handled as an interval variable. If this is not your intention, then the measurement level should be set.

Available file formats

CogStat can import data from several file formats.

  • File formats where measurement level should be set in a separate second row:
    • Excel spreadsheet .xls and .xlsx files
      • If there are multiple sheets in your file, the first sheet will be imported.
    • OpenDocument Spreadsheet .ods files
      • If there are multiple sheets in your file, the first sheet will be imported.
    • Text .csv, .txt, tsv., .dat, and .log files
      • If you save it from your spreadsheet, make sure that the measurement level row is included (see below). If you save it from other software (e.g., SPSS), then the measurement level will not be included; therefore, we do not recommend this file format.
      • In some cases, CogStat may not be able to read the csv file correctly because, in general, it is very difficult to identify the applied csv formats correctly. If CogStat cannot read your csv file, we recommend opening the csv file with a spreadsheet program and saving it to another format (such as xls, xlsx, or odt) which can be read more reliably by CogStat.
  • File formats where the measurement level can be set in the software and can be saved in the file format:
    • SPSS .sav, .zsav, and .por files
    • JASP .jasp files
    • jamovi .omv files
    • Since CogStat relies on the measurement level of the variables to decide which analyses to run, it is essential to set the measurement levels of the variables and save them before loading the data file to CogStat.
  • File formats where the measurement level is not available:
    • R .rdata, .rds, and .rda files
    • SAS .sas7bdat and .xpt files
    • STATA .dta files
    • Since CogStat relies on the measurement level of the variables to decide which analyses to run and this information is not available in those file formats, it is not recommended to use these file formats unless it is still a better option for you than the other file formats.

Note that data from any other software can be imported into CogStat when the data can be exported to any of these formats.

Note that various file formats have limitations, such as the length of the variable names or whether the measurement level is stored in the file.

How should the data look like in your spreadsheet software?

For example,

id Gender IQ
nom nom int
lcf 1 96
gok 1 121
tf 2 118
trs 1 128
rs 2 99
  • Like in any statistical software, rows should be the cases, and columns should be the variables.
  • The first row should include the names.
    • Variables with missing names will be named by CogStat as Unnamed: 0, Unnamed: 1, etc.
    • If you forget to include the whole variable names row, the entire first row (first case in your data) will be handled by CogStat (erroneously) as names.
    • Different variables cannot have the same names. If variables with the same names are found, then variables with a name already in use will be renamed by CogStat.
  • The second row includes the measurement level of the variables.
    • Use nom, ord and int for nominal, ordinal and interval variables. If any other word is in that row, then CogStat considers the row as values, and measurement levels will not be recognized.
    • When you display your data in CogStat, a Type row (including num and str types) are shown, these types should not be added to the spreadsheet file. The type row will be detected automatically when you import your data.
  • All other rows include values of the data.
    • For missing value, leave the cell empty, or write nan. (Note that many other common values will be imported as missing value, for example, NA, <NA>, n/a, etc.) New in v2.3: Error messages of the spreadsheet software in a cell when starting with # sign and ending with ! sign (e.g., #VALUE!, #DIV/0!) will be handled by CogStat as a missing value too. New in v2.4: Error messages of the spreadsheet software in a cell when starting with the Err: (e.g., Err:502) will be handled by CogStat as a missing value, too.

How to import your data?

There are two possibilities to import your data to CogStat:

  • Open your file
    • by using the Data > Open data file... (or the Data > Open demo data file...) menu,
    • or by dragging and dropping your file to the CogStat window.
  • If you use spreadsheet software, you can copy and paste your data.
    • The precision of the copied data depends on how the numbers were displayed in the spreadsheet, so change it according to your needs. CogStat handles precision automatically after importing the data, e.g., means are displayed with the precision of the raw data.
    • The decimal separator should be dot (i.e., not comma or other signs). If your spreadsheet software uses other separator than a dot, change your settings to modify the separator (see how to do it in MicroSoft Office Excel or in LibreOffice Calc).
    • Note that other statistical software will copy only the selected data but not the variable names and measurement levels, so the copy-and-paste method is usable only with spreadsheet software.

After the data is opened, you’ll see the first few cases in the Results pane, and (new in v2.4) the Data view on the left side will display all cases.

CogStat can store only a single datasheet: When you import new data, the previous one will not be available anymore (until you import the previous one again). If you want to work on several datasets at the same time, open CogStat several times, and different datasets can be used.

How to edit your data?

You can open your data set with any other software that can edit your file, and you can import the data again.

There are a few features in CogStat that make editing your data easier:

  • (New in v2.5) To open the actual data file for editing it with the default software for that file type, click on Data > Open data file with external data editor. Note that CogStat will use the software that should be used by default to open the given file type. If you want to change the software that handles a file type, change it in your operating settings.
  • Sync your data in your editor software and CogStat
    • (New in v2.4) If you change your source file and save it, you can simply reload your active data file with the Data > Reload actual data file command. After reloading the data, you can easily rerun the analyses seen in the Results pane.
    • (New in v2.5) Turn on Data > Reload data file when changed to reload the actual data file automatically when the file is saved in the editor software. This way, you don’t have to reload the file manually.

When automatic reloading and automatic reanalysis are turned on, the editor software can be considered as the external data editor of CogStat.