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How to Do Data Analysis with a Sense of an Artist

Do You Need to Know How to Do Data Analysis in a Different Way?

Learning how to do data analysis is hard enough; but what about actually engaging your readers with what you have actually discovered? Many people will just simply provide their readers with a set of graphs and tables along with a few descriptions of what they have done and what they managed to discover from the data that they have analyzed. For most people this is not going to be engaging reading but just something that will be referenced by other scholars in search of data for their own research. But what if you can actually make that analysis more interesting to the reader; or even viewer?

statistical data analysis schema

Performance Data Analysis

Jon Udell writes a nice article about the use of “Data Analysis as Performance Art” in which they discuss how “boring” statistics can be made to come alive through the use of well thought out strategies and of course computer software allowing you to present the data in thought provoking and easy to understand ways. While you may be limited with regards to what you can show within your thesis to maintain academic standards there is no reason why you should not use alternatives to excel and other simple software packages when it comes to making public presentations of your findings either in a lecture theater or even on a YouTube video or other web presentation.

Making High Performance Data Analysis Come Alive

Learning how to make high quantitative statistical analysis need not stop at using excel or SPSS. There are many other packages out there that can help you to not only analyze the data that you have but also to present in a way that is engaging for your targeted audience. While simple graphs, pie charts and tables full of statistics may be appropriatee for your academic paper a presentation made to an audience may need some very different ideas to actually keep the audience awake and interested in what you have to say. This could come in the form of;

  • Infographics; present your findings in a highly visual and simple to follow chart that will keep the reader’s attention
  • Maps; why just graph and tabulate geographical information if you can present it in a form that will be easily recognized and followed
  • Animation; why display the final graph if you can show how the data came together

These are just a couple of ideas that you could use when trying to put together a presentation of your data and findings when learning methods of data analysis.

Presenting Data Effectively

When doing a presentation of your statistical analysis there are simple rules and tips that you can follow to ensure that you maintain the attention of your audience. The following will help ensure that you can bring your findings alive in a way that will keep the audiences’ attention;

  • Use only language that your audience will understand
  • Avoid the use of slang and acronyms
  • Maintain very short concise sentences
  • Keep to one idea in each paragraph or slide
  • Use easy to read bulleted lists
  • Round your figures; the audience will be happy with “over 98% accuracy” rather than “98.003456% accuracy”
  • Don’t use complex tables or graphs with multiple lines and scales
  • Use solid lines and colors rather than patterns

Statistics need not be boring, bring your data to life and engage your audience with some of the ideas and techniques listed above so that you can learn how to do qualitative that will impress your audience!