Visualization and planning are two underrated skills sets in statistics. Some people skip the planning phase of analysis because it lacks self-explanation. How do you know the planning phase is not done? Ask yourself how you will collect the data and what it will look like in your excel file. You should be able to run through it with no hesitation- as effortlessly as a singer who knows his or her octaves. I am serious. Close your eyes and try to imagine what types of values you will collect for each variable of your study. Now open up an excel file and type the variables in the file with dummy data. Stop reading this blog and come back when you are finished….
Identifying the ‘visual’ of statistics is only part of the story. You should know how you will execute your data. Who will collect it? How many people are in your study? Does your research question incorporate variables in it? What is your outcome measure? Can you draw what it looks like in terms of data collection.
I am a natural born teacher so I will go through an example. Suppose you want to evaluate the price of candy bars. You should have a column in your data which represents prices. And the prices should be carried out to the second decimal place – because that is a typical format for candy bars. If you are collecting the prices from an index, then you need to include that in your planning phases. If you are going to collect it from stores, that is another factor consider for your study. How will you choose the store? What sampling method will be performed for your data? These are a few things to consider for your statistics.
So back to your little exercise with the data. If you were able to ‘draw out’ what the variables will look like without hesitation – you probably know the other details of your statistics. If you know it, great! You rock! If you are still looking at a blank excel spreadsheet- please make an appointment visiting the ‘How it Works’ page.
-Moore to follow Amy