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Interactive Data Profiling: A Comprehensive Guide for University Students Using JMP

September 25, 2023
Dr. Victoria Sterling
Dr. Victoria Sterling
Data Profiling Using JMP
Dr. Victoria Sterling is a pioneering data scientist with a Ph.D. in Data Analytics and Visualization from Imperial College London. Her groundbreaking work in interactive data profiling has transformed how we understand and utilize data.

In the ever-evolving world of data analytics, one of the fundamental tasks is data profiling. Data profiling is the process of examining, summarizing, and gaining insights from a dataset. This process plays a pivotal role in data preparation, cleaning, and ultimately, in making informed decisions. For university students working on assignments involving data analysis, JMP is a powerful tool that offers a user-friendly environment for interactive data profiling. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the concept of interactive data profiling, understand its significance, and learn how to complete your data profiling assignment using JMP and identify outliers, missing values, and other anomalies.

Understanding Data Profiling

Before delving into the details of interactive data profiling, let's gain a clear understanding of what data profiling entails. Data profiling is a systematic examination of a dataset to gather essential information about its structure, quality, and content. The primary objectives of data profiling include:

Interactive Data Profiling Using JMP
  • Discovering Data Types: Profiling helps identify the data types of each column in the dataset, such as numeric, text, date, or categorical.
  • Assessing Data Quality: Profiling reveals the overall quality of the data by highlighting issues such as missing values, duplicate records, and outliers.
  • Statistical Summaries: Profiling provides summary statistics like mean, median, standard deviation, and quantiles for numeric columns, and frequency distributions for categorical columns.
  • Identifying Anomalies: Profiling helps in the detection of anomalies, which can include outliers, extreme values, or unexpected patterns in the data.
  • Understanding Data Relationships: Profiling often involves exploring relationships between different columns, such as correlations between numeric attributes or cross-tabulations between categorical attributes.

Interactive data profiling takes these essential concepts a step further by providing a dynamic and user-friendly environment for users to explore, visualize, and interact with the data. JMP, developed by SAS, is a powerful tool that excels in interactive data profiling.

The Significance of Interactive Data Profiling

Interactive data profiling is not just a theoretical concept; it has practical implications and significant advantages, especially for university students working on assignments that involve data analysis. Here are some key reasons why interactive data profiling is essential:

1. Real-time Exploration

Interactive data profiling allows students to explore the dataset in real time. Instead of relying solely on predefined summary statistics or visualizations, students can interact with the data directly. This dynamic approach fosters a deeper understanding of the data and enables the discovery of patterns and outliers that might not be apparent through static methods.

2. Data Cleaning and Preprocessing

Data profiling is often the first step in data cleaning and preprocessing. It helps students identify missing values, duplicates, and outliers, which are common challenges in real-world datasets. By addressing these issues early on, students can ensure that their analyses are based on high-quality, reliable data.

3. Enhanced Decision-Making

Interactive data profiling empowers students to make informed decisions about how to handle the data. For example, if they discover a column with a high percentage of missing values, they can decide whether to impute the missing data or exclude the column from their analysis. This level of control is crucial for producing meaningful results.

4. Improved Data Visualization

JMP offers a wide range of data visualization options, making it easier for students to create meaningful plots and charts that convey insights effectively. Interactive profiling tools in JMP enable students to experiment with different visualizations to gain a deeper understanding of their data.

Getting Started with Interactive Data Profiling in JMP

Now that we've established the importance of interactive data profiling, let's dive into using JMP for this purpose. Below, we'll walk through the steps for profiling data and identifying outliers, missing values, and other anomalies in JMP.

Step 1: Import Your Data

The first step is to import your dataset into JMP. You can do this by going to "File" > "Open" and selecting your data file. JMP supports various data formats, including Excel, CSV, and more.

Step 2: Explore the Data

Once your data is loaded, explore it by selecting the dataset in the Data pane. You can view a summary of the data's basic statistics, data types, and distributions. This initial exploration helps you get a sense of the dataset's characteristics.

Step 3: Missing Values

Identifying missing values is a crucial part of data profiling. In JMP, you can go to "Analyze" > "Specialized Modeling" > "Data Quality" to access tools for handling missing values. You can visualize and explore missing data patterns and decide how to handle them.

Step 4: Outlier Detection

Outliers can significantly impact data analysis results. To identify outliers in JMP, you can use various visualization techniques such as box plots, scatter plots, and histograms. JMP provides interactive tools to select and investigate potential outliers.

Step 5: Visualizations

JMP offers a wide array of data visualization options to help you gain insights from your data. You can create scatter plots, bar charts, heat maps, and more. The ability to interactively explore these visualizations allows for a deeper understanding of your data's underlying patterns and relationships.

Step 6: Data Cleaning and Transformation

Based on the insights gained from the profiling process, you can start cleaning and transforming your data. This might involve imputing missing values, removing outliers, or applying data transformations to make it more suitable for analysis.

Step 7: Ongoing Exploration

Interactive data profiling is not a one-time process. It's an iterative one. As you proceed with your data analysis, you may discover new patterns, anomalies, or questions that require further exploration. JMP's interactive nature makes it easy to adapt to these evolving needs.

Tips for University Students

Here are some tips and best practices for university students using JMP for interactive data profiling:

  • Documentation: Keep a detailed record of your profiling steps and decisions. This documentation will be valuable when you need to explain your data preparation process in assignments or reports.
  • Data Understanding: Take the time to understand the context of your data. Knowing the domain and the purpose of the analysis will help you make informed decisions during data profiling.
  • Collaboration: If you're working on a group project, JMP allows you to share your analysis and collaborate with teammates. Use this feature to work together effectively.
  • Learning Resources: Explore online tutorials, documentation, and JMP communities to enhance your proficiency in using JMP for data profiling.
  • Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to ask your professors or peers for help if you encounter challenges or have questions about data profiling or using JMP effectively.


Interactive data profiling is a vital skill for university students pursuing data analytics, and JMP is a powerful tool that simplifies this process. By following the steps outlined in this guide and practicing interactive data profiling in JMP, students can gain valuable insights, clean and preprocess their data effectively, and ultimately make informed decisions in their assignments and future careers. Remember that data profiling is not a one-time task but an ongoing exploration that leads to a deeper understanding of data and better analytical outcomes. Embrace the power of interactive data profiling, and let it be your guide to unlocking the potential of your datasets.

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