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A Data Analyst's Best Friend: The Library
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Re: Tell a Story
  • 12/30/2016 11:48:37 PM
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PC, there aren't just people who have problems seeing beyond the "ways things have always been." Whole organizations behave in that manner, and even when those organizations are subsumed into other organizations, they often "infect" the bigger new organization with that inertia.

Re: Tell a Story
  • 12/30/2016 5:55:18 PM
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@Serh -

What are some of your sources?

Value of library research
  • 12/28/2016 10:08:00 PM
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..

Meta asks


 

How have you used the library to add depth to your data analysis?


 

Libraries are an excellent source of pre-digitized info in archived professional journals. Also books can be a valuable source for compiled sata buried in their text.

..

Re: Tell a Story
  • 12/28/2016 7:52:57 PM
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I've come the go to person for my friends and co-workers for finding ambigious information.  It's not that I know everything, but I know where to go to find out so I look like I know everything. 

Re: Tell a Story
  • 12/28/2016 2:48:47 PM
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@mn

There is a balance, i think, between having too little knowledge about the general context and having too much.

As we're discussing here, people with too little understanding of the business can come up with analytics or solutions that just don't fit.

On the other hand, people who are experts in how-things-are-done can find it difficult to think of anything that can be changed to make it better.

Re: Tell a Story
  • 12/22/2016 4:05:10 PM
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I'm not so sure it going to be easy to get folks to even walk across the street to the library. Yes, we need to have lots more information to be able to tell the story and not just know the numbers. I would suspect there could be lots of getting on the phone and talking to other folks with the specific experience and advice needed as well as internet research which should be able to rival most libraries, even though university or private research libraries would unboubtedly have lots of extras even an intenet search would have trouble finding.

Re: Tell a Story
  • 12/22/2016 4:56:52 AM
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The benefit, I think, of a library vs. a simple online search is that one gets "immersed" in an environment of knowledge rather than homing in on a specific piece of information. There is a great benefit in reading disinterestedly. People I look up to who are well-read would often refer to past reading in conversation, and that's not because they anticipated a book's pragmatic use for that specific point in time. Rather, each material adds to their general wisdom, which I think is a near equivalent to the way "context" is used in this blog post. Anyone who works with data, in my opinion, should be so hungry for this wisdom that general reading is a regular part of his workday.

Re: Tell a Story
  • 12/19/2016 8:35:55 PM
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@PC. Right, in the rush to adopt analytics over the past few years, some -- emphasizing "some" -- analysts or data scientists have become a little bit isolated, focusing on the data and losing sight of what the data means to the organization. People in a lot of roles -- data, IT and general business -- have fallen into similar traps in other ways.

Meta's suggestion to take a walk to the library makes sense: Explore what is going on in an industry by taking step outside the data can only help.

Tell a Story
  • 12/19/2016 3:34:17 PM
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He lacked the ability to put his findings in context. 

 

To be a successful data analyst, one must understand the context - how is the problem seen, how will the solution fit, what parts of the problem may remain. 

Working to put together the story you'll tell not only helps your audience engage, it helps you to understand how your work fits together and applies to real people (not just the data.)

Use the library, yes, but do whatever you need to do to tell the story.

 



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