Meta S. Brown

5 Steps Every Data Analyst Must Know

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kq4ym
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Data Doctor
Re: Communication
kq4ym   9/28/2013 6:03:34 PM
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The points were well sumarized. I'm thinking the last one might be a neglected one though. Being able to summarize the results so the executives can easily see what's going on and the recommendation can turn into a overblown recitation that goes over the heads of many and leaves confusion if not stated simply and with as few words as possible.

Hospice_Houngbo
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Prospector
Re: Good advice
Hospice_Houngbo   9/25/2013 10:22:49 AM
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@Pierre,

"Professional discussions around the topic could inspire more discussion of about displaying technical results to support data visualization, I imagine."

That's a valid point. Data analytics in the enterprise should not be a "one man show". It is a decision making process that normally involve many persons/skills in the company.

Hospice_Houngbo
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Prospector
Communication
Hospice_Houngbo   9/25/2013 10:11:16 AM
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"Avoid sentences like "The p value was 0.12, so we failed to reject the null hypothesis.""

Agreed! Most data scientists will "likely" not communicate the results of their analysis to the executive in those terms. But it is good to know.

Pierre DeBois
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Blogger
Re: Good advice
Pierre DeBois   9/25/2013 8:09:31 AM
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Michaeljackson, very true on eliminating technojargon - I do think to employ simplicity in practice takes time to digest the results and think about what expression best represents what needs to be conveyed. I wonder about the degree of difficulty analysts struggle with delivering information simply while meeting deadlines.  Simplicity and refinement do not mix with urgency at times.

Pierre DeBois
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Blogger
Re: Good advice
Pierre DeBois   9/25/2013 1:06:24 AM
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Nice points, Meta, about how basic stat concepts can be understandable, and how the last point, describing uncertainty, can send a misunderstood meassage about the opportunity possible from the result. Professional discussions around the topic could inspire more discussion of about displaying technical results to support data visualization, I imagine.

shjacks55
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Prospector
Re: Bad advice
shjacks55   9/25/2013 12:43:57 AM
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Sounds like the real problem is Stupid (and probably overpaid) Executives. Executives should at minimum understand the business they are in. Data analysis is usually done in order to answer a question (solve a specific problem.) Your procedural is ineffective when "here's a bunch of data we got off of Facebook, tell us what it means" scenario.

"Garbage in, Garbage out". Wisconsin has the highest per capita consumption of cheese and also the highest per capita rate of rectal cancer. The numbers show high statistical correlation and the numbers pass your test. Still wrong though.

 

cathy zhao
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Prospector
Re: Good advice
cathy zhao   9/24/2013 6:50:57 PM
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very true! it is really from transforming business problem to analyzing data to the final business answer of that original business problem!

michaeljackson
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Prospector
Re: Good advice
michaeljackson   9/24/2013 3:43:41 PM
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"State your conclusion in a simple, plain-language sentence. This one is the downfall of many a mathematical genius. State the results in terms any business person can understand, such as "Our tests show no evidence that the test coupon will outperform the coupon we are using today." Avoid sentences like "The p value was 0.12, so we failed to reject the null hypothesis."

This point, in my opinion is the most valid.  If you can communicate your point across to me without all of the techno jargon, then I can better understand you and feel more comfortable in doing business with you.

Meta S. Brown
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Blogger
Re: Good advice
Meta S. Brown   9/24/2013 8:45:57 AM
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Vincent,

I did not, and have never, recommended stating a p value in a presentation to an executive. I recommended calculating the p value as a part of a process that leads to a plain English statement of the conclusion. However, it is important that the analyst know and understand the p value, and be prepared to discuss it if asked, as some executives, and certainly some staff members, are aware of the concept and will ask.


The use of confidence intervals in place of hypothesis tests is a variant arising out of the same statistical theory, not a revolutionary alternative. As a presentation technique, it's a good idea. However, this should be regarded as a supplement, not an alternative, to hypothesis testing.

 

vincentg64
User Rank
Master Analyst
Re: Good advice
vincentg64   9/24/2013 1:26:32 AM
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I never provide p-values. This concept is too esoteric and most executives i work with don't know what it is and they  like when i speak their language, rather than mine. indeed, i never perform statistical tests, but instead I provide confidence intervals based on model-free inference. Google "Analyticbridge first theorem" for details.

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