Before diving into formal analysis with a dataset, it is often helpful to perform some initial investigations of the data through exploratory data analysis (EDA) to get a better sense of what you will be working with. Basic summary statistics and visualizations are important components of EDA as they allow us to condense a large amount of information into a small set of numbers or graphics that can be easily interpreted.

This lesson focuses on univariate summaries, where we explore each variable separately. This is useful for answering questions about each individual feature. Variables can typically be classified as quantitative (i.e., numeric) or categorical (i.e., discrete). Depending on its type, we may want to choose different summary metrics and visuals to use.

Let’s say we have the following dataset on New York City rental listings imported into a pandas DataFrame (subsetted from the StreetEasy dataset):

import pandas as pd # Import dataset rentals = pd.read_csv('streeteasy.csv') # Preview first 5 rows print(rentals.head())
rent size_sqft borough
2550 480 Manhattan
11500 2000 Manhattan
3000 1000 Queens
4500 916 Manhattan
4795 975 Manhattan

As seen, we have two quantitative variables (rent and size_sqft) and one categorical variable (borough). The pandas library offers a handy method .describe() for displaying some of the most common summary statistics for the columns in a DataFrame. By default, the result only includes numeric columns, but we can specify include='all' to the method to display categorical ones as well:

# Display summary statistics for all columns print(rentals.describe(include='all'))
rent size_sqft borough
count 5000.000000 5000.000000 5000
unique NaN NaN 3
top NaN NaN Manhattan
freq NaN NaN 3539
mean 4536.920800 920.101400 NaN
std 2929.838953 440.150464 NaN
min 1250.000000 250.000000 NaN
25% 2750.000000 633.000000 NaN
50% 3600.000000 800.000000 NaN
75% 5200.000000 1094.000000 NaN
max 20000.000000 4800.000000 NaN

This is a great way to get an overview of all the variables in a dataset. Notice how different statistics are displayed depending on the variable type. In the rest of the lesson, we’ll look more closely at the common ways to summarize and visualize quantitative and categorical variables.



In script.py, we’ve imported a dataset containing information on the budget and earnings of movies from various genres into a DataFrame called movies.

Start by inspecting the first 5 rows of movies using the .head() method and print the result.

How many quantitative and categorical variables do you see?


Use the .describe() method to display the summary statistics for movies and print the result. Make sure to show statistics for all columns in the DataFrame.

What kinds of metrics are displayed for quantitative columns versus categorical columns?

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