Making Connections In Your Data
By Scott Bahr, June 21, 2021
Some of the most important connections you can make in your data in many cases include something that was unanticipated. That a connection was made, an attribution uncovered, or an unforeseen relationship.
However, in many cases these connections are missed or overlooked. In our experiences we have been retained by many clients to take another look at their data sets and determine if there is more to find out, and discover whether there are missing pieces to their analysis.
This is where the analytical approach is important. If you approach your analysis with a predetermined idea of what the results might be, or that you have locked yourself into an approach before even looking at some of the results, there’s a good chance you will miss important information.
Several years ago while working at a consulting firm, I was given that task by one of the managers to complete a worksheet that outlined the analysis I was going to do on a study. It was requested that I outline all of the subgroup analyses, types of analysis, the graphics I was going to use and so on.
My response was outright panic as I had no idea how to anticipate every level of analysis until I was able to dig into the results and let the results determine the direction.
The point here is that it’s important to expand your reach when approaching your analysis. Our company takes an exploratory approach to every assignment that allows us the leeway to seek those nuggets of information that would not have been realized had we locked ourselves into an approach. This also allows us to separate ourselves from others who are unwilling to take the time and explore the data, to sometimes try things that might seem at the time to be out in left field, yet end up providing insights that would have not been uncovered otherwise.
To make the connections, you have to branch out, explore, find the relationships in your data others missed. Use your background and industry knowledge to reinforce your findings, and don’t be afraid to take that risk. It could ultimately be the approach that your clients (or you) need to move forward.