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Aphorisms for Data Analysts

Aphorisms for Data Analysts

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Published by terrabyte
An aphorism is a pithy saying that reveals some astute observation or popular notion, whether true or fictitious. “Lies, damn lies, and statistics” you’ve undoubtedly heard. If you’ve taken Stats 101, you probably know that “correlation doesn’t imply causation.” Here are a few more for your consideration.
An aphorism is a pithy saying that reveals some astute observation or popular notion, whether true or fictitious. “Lies, damn lies, and statistics” you’ve undoubtedly heard. If you’ve taken Stats 101, you probably know that “correlation doesn’t imply causation.” Here are a few more for your consideration.

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Published by: terrabyte on Apr 11, 2011
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A
PHORISMS FOR
D
ATA
A
NALYSTS
 
An aphorism is a pithy saying that reveals some astute observation or popular notion, whethertrue or fictitious.
Lies, damn lies, and statistics
you
ve undoubtedly heard. If you
ve takenStats 101, you probably know that
correlation doesn
t imply causation.
Here are a few morefor your consideration.1.
 
No data analyst is an island.
Be sure you have the resources you need to complete ananalysis. Get help if you need it, but never pass up the opportunity to learn new things.2.
 
Quality begins with staffing.
Support those who generate your data. Pick good people.Give them clear, well written procedures. Train them. Provide positive feedback. Andthank them when they
re done.3.
 
Start at the beginning.
Plan your work. Work your plan. Expect the unexpected. Ask theright questions. Beware of preconceived notions. Fairly consider alternatives. Sometimesyou get lucky, just don't count on it.4.
 
Applied statistics is about compromise.
The way an analysis gets done often depends asmuch on the administrative details as the technical details.
Stay within budget.
 
Finishon time.
 
Don
t collect any more samples.
 
Don
t tell anyone what you
re doing.
 Most mind-bending, though, is that every stakeholder will have different agendas but youwon
t always be able to tell what they are.
Be patient and don’t lose sight of your goal.
 5.
 
Statistics need a good foundation.
 
You’ll never find the answer if you don’t measure the
right things on the right subjects.6.
 
Precision trumps accuracy.
 
You can’t understand the data without controlling
variance.
You can’t control variance without
understanding the data. Variance doesn't go away justbecause you ignore it.7.
 
Know your data.
The more you know about your data the better your analysis will be.Understanding the big picture leads to better answers but failure lurks in the details.8.
 
 You can never have just one. You always want more than
you have. And by the time you think you’ve had enough, you’ve had way too many.
 9.
 
More data are better but better data are best.
Garbage in; garbage out. Get the right dataand get the data right before you start the analysis. Conducting a sophisticated analysis of 
poor data is like painting rotted wood. It won’t
hold up to even a cursory inspection.
’  
m being an afurism.

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