There is a lot of skill needed to perform good data analyses. It is not just about statistical knowledge (though more statistical knowledge is always helpful). Organizing your data analysis, and knowing how to do that, is a key skill. [Read more…] about Best Practices for Organizing your Data Analysis
It’s easy to develop bad habits in data analysis. When you’re new to it, you just don’t have enough experience to realize that what feels like efficiency will actually come back to make things take longer, introduce problems, and lead to more frustration. [Read more…] about Three Habits in Data Analysis That Feel Efficient, Yet are Not
Every time you analyze data, you start with a research question and end with communicating an answer. But in between those start and end points are twelve other steps. I call this the Data Analysis Pathway. It’s a framework I put together years ago, inspired by a client who kept getting stuck in Weed #1. But I’ve honed it over the years of assisting thousands of researchers with their analysis.
Data Cleaning is a critically important part of any data analysis. Without properly prepared data, the analysis will yield inaccurate results. Correcting errors later in the analysis adds to the time, effort, and cost of the project.
It’s easy to think that if you just knew statistics better, data analysis wouldn’t be so hard.
It’s true that more statistical knowledge is always helpful. But I’ve found that statistical knowledge is only part of the story.
Another key part is developing data analysis skills. These skills apply to all analyses. It doesn’t matter which statistical method or software you’re using. So even if you never need any statistical analysis harder than a t-test, developing these skills will make your job easier.
Ever gritted your teeth when your collaborator invalidates all your hard work by telling you that the data set you were working on had “a few minor changes”?
Or panicked when someone running a big meta-analysis asks you to share your data?
If any of these experiences rings true to you, then you need to adopt the philosophy of reproducible research.