In manual editing, records of micro-data are checked for errors and, if necessary, adjusted by a human editor, using expert judgement. Nowadays, the editor is usually supported by a computer program in identifying data items that require closer inspection – in particular combinations of values that are inconsistent or suspicious. Moreover, the computer program enables the editor to change data items interactively, meaning that the automatic checks that identify inconsistent or suspicious values are immediately rerun whenever a value is changed. This modern form of manual editing is often referred to as ‘interactive editing’.
If organised properly, manual/interactive editing is expected to yield high quality data. However, it is also time-consuming and labour-intensive. Therefore, it should only be applied to that part of the data which cannot be edited safely by any other means, i.e., some form of selective editing should be applied (see “Statistical Data Editing – Selective Editing”). Furthermore, it is important to use efficient edit rules and to draw up detailed editing instructions in advance.
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