Extracting meaningful information from data

Once the task of collecting the data is over, the next crucial step that the researcher has to follow is the job of analysing the data and deriving useful information from it. The data that is collected is useless if the researcher cannot apply it to some concrete action. There are many valuable insights that can be gained from collecting data.

The first thing that the analyst has to look at is whether the data that has been collected is sufficient to answer the question that he had posed at the start of his research. If it is not then he needs to go back and collect more data before he can start the diagnosis. One of the important things that need to be focused on is not just the quantity of data, but also its quality. The statistics that have been accumulated need to tell a story. They need to give an indication of what patterns have been found, what people are thinking, what is the world doing and what changes can be observed in a certain environment.

Many researchers arrange the data into categories to speed up the analytical process. This also helps them filter out responses that they think are unnecessary for the study of the subject on hand. Another advantage of arranging data into categories is that if there are any patterns that are shown by the data, then they are revealed easily and quickly by the categories. It is common for pie charts, tables, flow charts and line graphs to be drawn by using data since they reveal patterns easily.

While analysing the data it is always essential to remember the guiding motive behind the research. There is no doubt much information hidden inside the numbers that have been collected. It might also be easy for the statistician to stray away from the question and start conducting analysis that is of no relevance to the research. This is where the statistician needs to display a little bit of self discipline so that he can stay true to the motives of the research. Of course, the statistician also needs to keep the data safe so that it can be used for other kinds of research, if he feels that the data reveals a lot more than what he is currently working on. Every researcher should remember that without the right analytical methods, data will not provide the right information.

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