# Generating random qualitative data in a pinch

There are plenty of terrific random data generators for Excel out there. But sometimes you just need some fake data qualitative data without the fuss.

For instance, perhaps I want to generate a random list of data points with the values low, medium, or high. A simple method I recommend combines RANDBETWEEN with CHOOSE. Take a look:

`=CHOOSE(RANDBETWEEN(1,3), “low”, “medium”, “high”)`

All I would need to do now is use the formula above and then drag down to create a list of random, qualitative data.

If I want more weight given to a certain variable, say I want low to appear 50% of the time, I can adjust the bounds of my RANDBETWEEN and repeat the data item.

`=CHOOSE(RANDBETWEEN(1,4), “low”, “low”, “medium”, “high”)`

It’s not the most elegant solution, I admit. But like I said, it does well in a pinch.

## 10 thoughts on “Generating random qualitative data in a pinch”

1. Jon Acampora

That’s a great technique! I used to use a vlookup to bring in random qualitative data, but this a much faster solution. Thanks for sharing!

1. Jordan G Post author

If you are copying and pasting the formula, Excel is probably throwing an error because of the quotation ” symbol used. Retype the quotes around everything when pasted into Excel.

2. Chris Kottmyer

I have a similar approach, but I assume rand produces a uniformly distributed distribution, which when multipled by itself acts like the the variable x in x^2. You can then use multiple rands and power commands to produce equations, which become stepwise when one of the round functions are applied. This allows for a rich variation in randomness when you encode the rounded values to qualitative data. I use this to produce simulated web traffic data, which can be used as a practice set for analysts.

3. Chris Kottmyer

Example pseudo code: Choose ( roundup ( power (randbetween (1, 4), 2), 0), “low”,”middle”,”high”)