When you have all this information about your business or project saved and tracked, what do you do with it? That’s where interpretation of data comes in. It is designed to help people with limited statistical or programming skills quickly become productive in an increasingly digitized workplace.
Data analysis and interpretation is the process of assigning meaning to the collected information and determining the conclusions, significance, and implications of the findings. The steps involved in data analysis are a function of the type of information collected, however, returning to the purpose of the assessment and the assessment questions will provide a structure for the organization of the data and a focus for the analysis.
The analysis of narrative (qualitative) data is conducted by organizing the data into common themes or categories. It is often more difficult to interpret narrative data since it lacks the built-in structure found in numerical data. Initially, the narrative data appears to be a collection of random, unconnected statements. The assessment purpose and questions can help direct the focus of the data organization.
- Focus groups and Interviews:Read and organize the data from each question separately. This approach permits focusing on one question at a time (e.g., experiences with tutoring services, characteristics of tutor, student responsibility in the tutoring process). Group the comments by themes, topics, or categories. This approach allows for focusing on one area at a time (e.g., characteristics of tutor – level of preparation, knowledge of content area, availability).
- DocumentsCode content and characteristics of documents into various categories (e.g., training manual – policies and procedures, communication, responsibilities). This approach keeps your information organized and easily accessible when you
- ObservationsCode patterns from the focus of the observation (e.g., behavioral patterns – amount of time engaged/not engaged in activity, type of engagement, communication, interpersonal skills).
Some Data Interpretation and Analysis Tips
- Consider the data from various perspectives. Whatever data you have collected from your business it’s always best to ask what that data means for various actors or participants.
- In general, there is nothing to be afraid of while doing analysis, as it is very hard to actually “mess-up” your data while running analysis. However, with that said, NEVER use your master copy.
- Think beyond the data but do not stray too far from the data. Be mindful that you are not making too much of your data or too little. Make the link between the data and your interpretations clear. Base your interpretations in your research.
- Trim Your Data Prior To Analysis, Making It Easier To Focus On Analysis. You can either manually delete your unneeded variables or by using the “Define Variable Sets” function.
- Accept that you may not find “significance” and devote some time thinking about what that might mean (ahead of time).
- Make visible the assumptions and beliefs, or mental models, that influence your interpretation. We each carry images, assumptions, about ourselves, others, the organizations we work in, etc. As a composite, they represent our view of our world. These assumptions and beliefs can lead to incorrect interpretations. Reflect on your own thinking and reasoning. Individually and/or collectively list your assumptions about the inquiry focus.
- Take care not to disregard outlying data or data that seems to be the exception.
- Data that is surprising, contradictory or puzzling can lead to useful insights.
Online Data Collection:
Looking for a way to collect and process data quickly and conveniently?
The data management specialists at GenxTS can set up and manage your data collection project so that you get the information you need.
In the past collecting data from your target community involved designing, printing and posting paper forms, chasing up those who hadn’t responded, getting the data entry done and manually preparing reports while checking for inaccuracies.
Fortunately those painful days can now be over because GenxTS makes it easy to do away with forms and collect your data electronically. This means you’ll get a faster response, real time feedback and if needed, the data can be validated in real time online.
No project is too big or too small
GenxTS’s team works with local councils, industry associations and anyone that needs specialist data collection help.
Our skills combine data collection, technical and IT expertise, plus personalised customer service. Data collection, management and reporting have been our key focus for quite some time now and we use our experience to ensure that you get the information you need.
Need specialist help with a data collection project?
Please contact us via phone or email to discuss your needs and schedule a free no-obligation one hour consultation.
Online data collection services
- Designing the data collection website to make it easy for respondents to submit the data.
- Adding validations to ensure that the data is constrained, so, for example, only appropriate types of data are submitted.
- Pre-populated data – We can pre-load known information, such as registration number or address, or information collected at an earlier time.
- Personal service – The GenxTS team is focused on understanding your needs and providing a solution. As we set up your online data collection system we check that the questions and validations will provide you with the information you need.
- Secure and reliable survey hosting – We understand the importance of data security.
- Providing reports in an agreed format, including SPSS, Excel, html, PDF and PowerPoint.