This has been driving me crazy, so I thought I'd come and ask for some help:
I'm doing a study involving content analysis of newspapers. The unit of analysis is each day, adding all stories for the day. Overall, there are 4 variables for each case (i.e. number of stories per day, column-inches total, etc.). After collecting data for a while, I did notice some of the variables in some of the cases were quite different (higher, mostly) than the others, and started considering outliers. Following the basic concept of 3 std. dev., I started checking if some variables did show outliers - and they did.
These outliers are, mostly, days when something unusual happened (a big, breaking story that mattered to that audience of that paper; it's not an error, but an anomaly, I'd say).
So, here's the question:
I do know there's tons of discussions of removing or not outliers from analysis, and don't think there'll ever be an answer for it plain and simple. But, if I DO decide to remove the outliers:
a) Should I remove them before or after describing the frequencies? i.e. "During the X days analyzed, there were 765 stories" - should the 765 include the outliers or not? Should I remove outliers only when comparing means and significant correlations, or remove them altogether?
b) If I do remove the outliers, since they only refer to 1 (2 in very rare cases) of 4 variables I'm collecting for each case, should I remove the whole case altogether or just the outlier variable (leading to different N's in the end for each variable)?
Input on this will be extremely helpful. Thank you SO much in advance!! D.