The Trouble with Data About Data

The Trouble with Data About Data

The Trouble with Data About Data

The Trouble with Data About Data
Tweet
Two people looking at the same analytical result can come to different conclusions. The same goes for the collection of data and its presentation. A couple of experiences underscore how the data about data -- even from authoritative sources -- may not be as accurate as the people working on the project or the audience believe. You guessed it: Bias can turn a well-meaning, "objective" exercise into a subjective one. In my experience, the most nefarious thing about bias is the lack of awareness or acknowledgement of it.
The Trouble with Research
I can't speak for all types of research, but I'm very familiar with what happens in the high-tech industry. Some of it involves considerable primary and secondary research, and some of it involves one or the other.
Let's say we're doing research about analytics. The scope of our research will include a massive survey of a target audience (because higher numbers seem to indicate statistical significance). The target respondents will be a subset of subscribers to a mailing list or individuals chosen from multiple databases based on pre-defined criteria. Our errors here most likely will include sampling bias (a non-random sample) and selection bias (aka cherry-picking).
The survey respondents will receive a set of questions that someone has to define and structure. That someone may have a personal agenda (confirmation bias), may be privy to an employer's agenda (funding bias), and/or may choose a subset of the original questions (potentially selection bias).
The survey will be supplemented with interviews of analytics professionals who represent the audience we survey, demographically speaking. However, they will have certain unique attributes -- a high profile or they work for a high-profile company (selection bias).

Read Also:
Winning with Data (and How Data Governance Can Help)

 



Data Innovation Summit 2017

30
Mar
2017
Data Innovation Summit 2017

30% off with code 7wData

Read Also:
How to Define the CDO role and pick the right candidate?

Big Data Innovation Summit London

30
Mar
2017
Big Data Innovation Summit London

$200 off with code DATA200

Read Also:
Data scientists mostly just do arithmetic and that’s a good thing

Enterprise Data World 2017

2
Apr
2017
Enterprise Data World 2017

$200 off with code 7WDATA

Read Also:
How to Define the CDO role and pick the right candidate?

Data Visualisation Summit San Francisco

19
Apr
2017
Data Visualisation Summit San Francisco

$200 off with code DATA200

Read Also:
What is a “Data Lake” Anyway?

Chief Analytics Officer Europe

25
Apr
2017
Chief Analytics Officer Europe

15% off with code 7WDCAO17

Read Also:
What is a “Data Lake” Anyway?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *