This is an Eval Central archive copy, find the original at engagewithdata.com.
Summarize, visualize, analyze
In my last post, I asked for feedback about what you’d like to learn about in our summer of figuring out the “so what?” of our data.
To my amusement, a longtime colleague and friend replied to my LinkedIn post with the following topic:
“How to turn raw data into meaningful information to make decisions. AKA how to think about data like Amanda does.”
So today’s post will give you a glimpse into the inner workings of my brain (just kidding, that’s kind of scary) and how I think through data once I’ve tracked it.
There are three main steps I take when I want to figure out what’s going on in a dataset: Summarize, Visualize, and Analyze. We’re going to talk through each.
1. Summarize it
Even with a nice, clean dataset that I’ve formatted it’s still hard to tell what’s REALLY going on there.
I need to use some formulas and functions to get a sense of the big picture.
I mean, look at the screenshot below (all fake data, don’t worry!) … this is like a blank canvas. I’ve got all my data in place, but I really couldn’t tell you anything about the trends or patterns that exist for my students.