What Does it Mean to Normalize Data?

The normalization of data is the process of bringing data into a uniform format that allows analysts and others to research, analyze, and utilize the data. In statistics, normalization refers to the process of putting different variables on the same scale in order to compare scores between different types of variables. For example, say you need to compare the performance of two different students, one who received a 75 out of 100 and the other who received a 42 out of 50. The result of using Microsoft Excel to normalize data would demonstrate that 42 is of higher value, even though it is a lower number. For most organizations, data is pulled from multiple sources. Rarely will all of these sources organize datasets in the exact same format as another source. To overcome this challenge, data analysts normalize data in a common format before they continue through the data normalization techniques.