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Present Your Data Like a Pro

  • Joel Schwartzberg

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Demystify the numbers. Your audience will thank you.

While a good presentation has data, data alone doesn’t guarantee a good presentation. It’s all about how that data is presented. The quickest way to confuse your audience is by sharing too many details at once. The only data points you should share are those that significantly support your point — and ideally, one point per chart. To avoid the debacle of sheepishly translating hard-to-see numbers and labels, rehearse your presentation with colleagues sitting as far away as the actual audience would. While you’ve been working with the same chart for weeks or months, your audience will be exposed to it for mere seconds. Give them the best chance of comprehending your data by using simple, clear, and complete language to identify X and Y axes, pie pieces, bars, and other diagrammatic elements. Try to avoid abbreviations that aren’t obvious, and don’t assume labeled components on one slide will be remembered on subsequent slides. Every valuable chart or pie graph has an “Aha!” zone — a number or range of data that reveals something crucial to your point. Make sure you visually highlight the “Aha!” zone, reinforcing the moment by explaining it to your audience.

With so many ways to spin and distort information these days, a presentation needs to do more than simply share great ideas — it needs to support those ideas with credible data. That’s true whether you’re an executive pitching new business clients, a vendor selling her services, or a CEO making a case for change.

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

  • JS Joel Schwartzberg oversees executive communications for a major national nonprofit, is a professional presentation coach, and is the author of Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter and The Language of Leadership: How to Engage and Inspire Your Team . You can find him on LinkedIn and X. TheJoelTruth

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The Importance of Data Analysis in Research

Studying data is amongst the everyday  chores  of researchers. It’s not a big deal for them to go through hundreds of pages per day to extract useful information from it. However, recent times have seen a massive jump in the  amount  of data available. While it’s certainly good news for researchers to get their hands on more data that could result in better studies, it’s also no less than a headache.

Thankfully, the rising  trend  of  data science  in the past years has also meant a sharp rise in data analysis  techniques . These tools and techniques save a lot of time in hefty processes a researcher has to go through and allow them to finish the work of days in minutes!

As a famous saying goes,

“Information is the  oil of the 21st century , and analytics is the combustion engine.”

 –  Peter Sondergaard , senior vice president, Gartner Research.

So, if you’re also a researcher or just curious about the most important data analysis techniques in research, this article is for you. Make sure you give it a thorough read, as I’ll be dropping some very important points throughout the article.

What is the Importance of Data Analysis in Research?

Data analysis is important in research because it makes studying data a lot simpler and more accurate. It helps the researchers straightforwardly interpret the data so that researchers don’t leave anything out that could help them derive insights from it.

Data analysis is a way to study and analyze huge amounts of data. Research often includes going through heaps of data, which is getting more and more for the researchers to handle with every passing minute.

Hence, data analysis knowledge is a huge edge for researchers in the current era, making them very efficient and productive.

What is Data Analysis?

Once the data is  cleaned ,  transformed , and ready to use, it can do wonders. Not only does it contain a variety of useful information, studying the data collectively results in uncovering very minor patterns and details that would otherwise have been ignored.

So, you can see why it has such a huge role to play in research. Research is all about studying patterns and trends, followed by making a hypothesis and proving them. All this is supported by appropriate data.

Further in the article, we’ll see some of the most important types of data analysis that you should be aware of as a researcher so you can put them to use.

The Role of Data Analytics at The Senior Management Level

The Role of Data Analytics at The Senior Management Level

From small and medium-sized businesses to Fortune 500 conglomerates, the success of a modern business is now increasingly tied to how the company implements its data infrastructure and data-based decision-making. According

The Decision-Making Model Explained (In Plain Terms)

The Decision-Making Model Explained (In Plain Terms)

Any form of the systematic decision-making process is better enhanced with data. But making sense of big data or even small data analysis when venturing into a decision-making process might

13 Reasons Why Data Is Important in Decision Making

13 Reasons Why Data Is Important in Decision Making

Data is important in decision making process, and that is the new golden rule in the business world. Businesses are always trying to find the balance of cutting costs while

Types of Data Analysis: Qualitative Vs Quantitative

Looking at it from a broader perspective, data analysis boils down to two major types. Namely,  qualitative data analysis and  quantitative data  analysis. While the latter deals with the numerical data, comprising of numbers, the former comes in the non-text form. It can be anything such as summaries, images, symbols, and so on.

Both types have different methods to deal with them and we’ll be taking a look at both of them so you can use whatever suits your requirements.

Qualitative Data Analysis

As mentioned before, qualitative data comprises non-text-based data, and it can be either in the form of text or images. So, how do we analyze such data? Before we start, here are a few common tips first that you should always use before applying any techniques.

Now, let’s move ahead and see where the qualitative data analysis techniques come in. Even though there are a lot of professional ways to achieve this, here are some of them that you’ll need to know as a beginner.

Narrative Analysis

If your research is based upon collecting some answers from people in interviews or other scenarios, this might be one of the best analysis techniques for you.  The narrative analysis  helps to analyze the narratives of various people, which is available in textual form. The stories, experiences, and other answers from respondents are used to power the analysis.

The important thing to note here is that the data has to be available in the form of text only. Narrative analysis cannot be performed on other data types such as images.

Content Analysis

Content analysis  is amongst the most used methods in analyzing quantitative data. This method doesn’t put a restriction on the form of data. You can use any kind of data here, whether it’s in the form of images, text, or even real-life items.

Here, an important application is when you know the questions you need to know the answers to. Upon getting the answers, you can perform this method to perform analysis to them, followed by extracting insights from it to be used in your research. It’s a full-fledged method and a lot of analytical  studies  are based solely on this.

Grounded Theory

Grounded theory  is used when the researchers want to know the reason behind the occurrence of a certain event. They may have to go through a lot of different  use cases  and comparing them to each other while following this approach. It’s an iterative approach and the explanations keep on being modified or re-created till the researchers end up on a suitable conclusion that satisfies their specific conditions.

So, make sure you employ this method if you need to have certain qualitative data at hand and you need to know the reason why something happened, based on that data.

Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis  is quite similar to narrative analysis in the sense that it also uses interactions with people for the analysis purpose. The only difference is that the focal point here is different. Instead of analyzing the narrative, the researchers focus on the context in which the conversation is happening.

The complete background of the person being questioned, including his everyday environment, is used to perform the research.

Quantitative Analysis

Quantitative analysis involves any kind of analysis that’s being done on numbers. From the most basic analysis techniques to the most advanced ones, quantitative analysis techniques comprise a huge range of techniques. No matter what level of research you need to do, if it’s based on numerical data, you’ll always have efficient analysis methods to use.

There are two broad ways here;  Descriptive statistics  and  inferential analysis . 

However, before applying the analysis methods on numerical data, there are a few pre-processing steps that need to be done. These steps are used to make the data ‘ready’ for applying the analysis methods.

Make sure you don’t miss these steps, or you will end up drawing biased conclusions from the data analysis. IF you want to know why data is the key in data analysis and problem-solving, feel free to check out this article here . Now, about the steps for PRE-PROCESSING THE QUANTITATIVE DATA .

Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive statistics  is the most basic step that researchers can use to draw conclusions from data. It helps to find patterns and helps the data ‘speak’. Let’s see some of the most common data analysis techniques used to perform descriptive statistics .

Mean is nothing but the average of the total data available at hand. The formula is simple and tells what average value to expect throughout the data.

The median is the middle value available in the data. It lets the researchers estimate where the mid-point of the data is. It’s important to note that the data needs to be sorted to find the median from it.

The mode is simply the most frequently occurring data in the dataset. For example, if you’re studying the ages of students in a particular class, the model will be the age of most students in the class.

  • Standard Deviation

Numerical data is always spread over a wide range and finding out how much the data is spread is quite important. Standard deviation is what lets us achieve this. It tells us how much an average data point is far from the average.

Related Article: The Best Programming Language for Statistics

Inferential Analysis

Inferential statistics  point towards the techniques used to predict future occurrences of data. These methods help draw relationships between data and once it’s done, predicting future data becomes possible.

  • Correlation

Correlation  s the measure of the relationship between two numerical variables. It measures the degree of their relation, whether it is causal or not. 

For example, the age and height of a person are highly correlated. If the age of a person increases, height is also likely to increase. This is called a positive correlation.

A negative correlation means that upon increasing one variable, the other one decreases. An example would be the relationship between the age and maturity of a random person.

Regression  aims to find the mathematical relationship between a set of variables. While the correlation was a statistical measure, regression is a mathematical measure that can be measured in the form of variables. Once the relationship between variables is formed, one variable can be used to predict the other variable.

This method has a huge application when it comes to predicting future data. If your research is based upon calculating future occurrences of some data based on past data and then testing it, make sure you use this method.

A Summary of Data Analysis Methods

Now that we’re done with some of the most common methods for both quantitative and qualitative data, let’s summarize them in a tabular form so you would have something to take home in the end.

Before we close the article, I’d like to strongly recommend you to check out some interesting related topics:

That’s it! We have seen why data analysis is such an important tool when it comes to research and how it saves a huge lot of time for the researchers, making them not only efficient but more productive as well.

Moreover, the article covers some of the most important data analysis techniques that one needs to know for research purposes in today’s age. We’ve gone through the analysis methods for both quantitative and qualitative data in a basic way so it might be easy to understand for beginners.

Emidio Amadebai

As an IT Engineer, who is passionate about learning and sharing. I have worked and learned quite a bit from Data Engineers, Data Analysts, Business Analysts, and Key Decision Makers almost for the past 5 years. Interested in learning more about Data Science and How to leverage it for better decision-making in my business and hopefully help you do the same in yours.

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importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Home Blog Design Understanding Data Presentations (Guide + Examples)

Understanding Data Presentations (Guide + Examples)

Cover for guide on data presentation by SlideModel

In this age of overwhelming information, the skill to effectively convey data has become extremely valuable. Initiating a discussion on data presentation types involves thoughtful consideration of the nature of your data and the message you aim to convey. Different types of visualizations serve distinct purposes. Whether you’re dealing with how to develop a report or simply trying to communicate complex information, how you present data influences how well your audience understands and engages with it. This extensive guide leads you through the different ways of data presentation.

Table of Contents

What is a Data Presentation?

What should a data presentation include, line graphs, treemap chart, scatter plot, how to choose a data presentation type, recommended data presentation templates, common mistakes done in data presentation.

A data presentation is a slide deck that aims to disclose quantitative information to an audience through the use of visual formats and narrative techniques derived from data analysis, making complex data understandable and actionable. This process requires a series of tools, such as charts, graphs, tables, infographics, dashboards, and so on, supported by concise textual explanations to improve understanding and boost retention rate.

Data presentations require us to cull data in a format that allows the presenter to highlight trends, patterns, and insights so that the audience can act upon the shared information. In a few words, the goal of data presentations is to enable viewers to grasp complicated concepts or trends quickly, facilitating informed decision-making or deeper analysis.

Data presentations go beyond the mere usage of graphical elements. Seasoned presenters encompass visuals with the art of data storytelling , so the speech skillfully connects the points through a narrative that resonates with the audience. Depending on the purpose – inspire, persuade, inform, support decision-making processes, etc. – is the data presentation format that is better suited to help us in this journey.

To nail your upcoming data presentation, ensure to count with the following elements:

  • Clear Objectives: Understand the intent of your presentation before selecting the graphical layout and metaphors to make content easier to grasp.
  • Engaging introduction: Use a powerful hook from the get-go. For instance, you can ask a big question or present a problem that your data will answer. Take a look at our guide on how to start a presentation for tips & insights.
  • Structured Narrative: Your data presentation must tell a coherent story. This means a beginning where you present the context, a middle section in which you present the data, and an ending that uses a call-to-action. Check our guide on presentation structure for further information.
  • Visual Elements: These are the charts, graphs, and other elements of visual communication we ought to use to present data. This article will cover one by one the different types of data representation methods we can use, and provide further guidance on choosing between them.
  • Insights and Analysis: This is not just showcasing a graph and letting people get an idea about it. A proper data presentation includes the interpretation of that data, the reason why it’s included, and why it matters to your research.
  • Conclusion & CTA: Ending your presentation with a call to action is necessary. Whether you intend to wow your audience into acquiring your services, inspire them to change the world, or whatever the purpose of your presentation, there must be a stage in which you convey all that you shared and show the path to staying in touch. Plan ahead whether you want to use a thank-you slide, a video presentation, or which method is apt and tailored to the kind of presentation you deliver.
  • Q&A Session: After your speech is concluded, allocate 3-5 minutes for the audience to raise any questions about the information you disclosed. This is an extra chance to establish your authority on the topic. Check our guide on questions and answer sessions in presentations here.

Bar charts are a graphical representation of data using rectangular bars to show quantities or frequencies in an established category. They make it easy for readers to spot patterns or trends. Bar charts can be horizontal or vertical, although the vertical format is commonly known as a column chart. They display categorical, discrete, or continuous variables grouped in class intervals [1] . They include an axis and a set of labeled bars horizontally or vertically. These bars represent the frequencies of variable values or the values themselves. Numbers on the y-axis of a vertical bar chart or the x-axis of a horizontal bar chart are called the scale.

Presentation of the data through bar charts

Real-Life Application of Bar Charts

Let’s say a sales manager is presenting sales to their audience. Using a bar chart, he follows these steps.

Step 1: Selecting Data

The first step is to identify the specific data you will present to your audience.

The sales manager has highlighted these products for the presentation.

  • Product A: Men’s Shoes
  • Product B: Women’s Apparel
  • Product C: Electronics
  • Product D: Home Decor

Step 2: Choosing Orientation

Opt for a vertical layout for simplicity. Vertical bar charts help compare different categories in case there are not too many categories [1] . They can also help show different trends. A vertical bar chart is used where each bar represents one of the four chosen products. After plotting the data, it is seen that the height of each bar directly represents the sales performance of the respective product.

It is visible that the tallest bar (Electronics – Product C) is showing the highest sales. However, the shorter bars (Women’s Apparel – Product B and Home Decor – Product D) need attention. It indicates areas that require further analysis or strategies for improvement.

Step 3: Colorful Insights

Different colors are used to differentiate each product. It is essential to show a color-coded chart where the audience can distinguish between products.

  • Men’s Shoes (Product A): Yellow
  • Women’s Apparel (Product B): Orange
  • Electronics (Product C): Violet
  • Home Decor (Product D): Blue

Accurate bar chart representation of data with a color coded legend

Bar charts are straightforward and easily understandable for presenting data. They are versatile when comparing products or any categorical data [2] . Bar charts adapt seamlessly to retail scenarios. Despite that, bar charts have a few shortcomings. They cannot illustrate data trends over time. Besides, overloading the chart with numerous products can lead to visual clutter, diminishing its effectiveness.

For more information, check our collection of bar chart templates for PowerPoint .

Line graphs help illustrate data trends, progressions, or fluctuations by connecting a series of data points called ‘markers’ with straight line segments. This provides a straightforward representation of how values change [5] . Their versatility makes them invaluable for scenarios requiring a visual understanding of continuous data. In addition, line graphs are also useful for comparing multiple datasets over the same timeline. Using multiple line graphs allows us to compare more than one data set. They simplify complex information so the audience can quickly grasp the ups and downs of values. From tracking stock prices to analyzing experimental results, you can use line graphs to show how data changes over a continuous timeline. They show trends with simplicity and clarity.

Real-life Application of Line Graphs

To understand line graphs thoroughly, we will use a real case. Imagine you’re a financial analyst presenting a tech company’s monthly sales for a licensed product over the past year. Investors want insights into sales behavior by month, how market trends may have influenced sales performance and reception to the new pricing strategy. To present data via a line graph, you will complete these steps.

First, you need to gather the data. In this case, your data will be the sales numbers. For example:

  • January: $45,000
  • February: $55,000
  • March: $45,000
  • April: $60,000
  • May: $ 70,000
  • June: $65,000
  • July: $62,000
  • August: $68,000
  • September: $81,000
  • October: $76,000
  • November: $87,000
  • December: $91,000

After choosing the data, the next step is to select the orientation. Like bar charts, you can use vertical or horizontal line graphs. However, we want to keep this simple, so we will keep the timeline (x-axis) horizontal while the sales numbers (y-axis) vertical.

Step 3: Connecting Trends

After adding the data to your preferred software, you will plot a line graph. In the graph, each month’s sales are represented by data points connected by a line.

Line graph in data presentation

Step 4: Adding Clarity with Color

If there are multiple lines, you can also add colors to highlight each one, making it easier to follow.

Line graphs excel at visually presenting trends over time. These presentation aids identify patterns, like upward or downward trends. However, too many data points can clutter the graph, making it harder to interpret. Line graphs work best with continuous data but are not suitable for categories.

For more information, check our collection of line chart templates for PowerPoint and our article about how to make a presentation graph .

A data dashboard is a visual tool for analyzing information. Different graphs, charts, and tables are consolidated in a layout to showcase the information required to achieve one or more objectives. Dashboards help quickly see Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You don’t make new visuals in the dashboard; instead, you use it to display visuals you’ve already made in worksheets [3] .

Keeping the number of visuals on a dashboard to three or four is recommended. Adding too many can make it hard to see the main points [4]. Dashboards can be used for business analytics to analyze sales, revenue, and marketing metrics at a time. They are also used in the manufacturing industry, as they allow users to grasp the entire production scenario at the moment while tracking the core KPIs for each line.

Real-Life Application of a Dashboard

Consider a project manager presenting a software development project’s progress to a tech company’s leadership team. He follows the following steps.

Step 1: Defining Key Metrics

To effectively communicate the project’s status, identify key metrics such as completion status, budget, and bug resolution rates. Then, choose measurable metrics aligned with project objectives.

Step 2: Choosing Visualization Widgets

After finalizing the data, presentation aids that align with each metric are selected. For this project, the project manager chooses a progress bar for the completion status and uses bar charts for budget allocation. Likewise, he implements line charts for bug resolution rates.

Data analysis presentation example

Step 3: Dashboard Layout

Key metrics are prominently placed in the dashboard for easy visibility, and the manager ensures that it appears clean and organized.

Dashboards provide a comprehensive view of key project metrics. Users can interact with data, customize views, and drill down for detailed analysis. However, creating an effective dashboard requires careful planning to avoid clutter. Besides, dashboards rely on the availability and accuracy of underlying data sources.

For more information, check our article on how to design a dashboard presentation , and discover our collection of dashboard PowerPoint templates .

Treemap charts represent hierarchical data structured in a series of nested rectangles [6] . As each branch of the ‘tree’ is given a rectangle, smaller tiles can be seen representing sub-branches, meaning elements on a lower hierarchical level than the parent rectangle. Each one of those rectangular nodes is built by representing an area proportional to the specified data dimension.

Treemaps are useful for visualizing large datasets in compact space. It is easy to identify patterns, such as which categories are dominant. Common applications of the treemap chart are seen in the IT industry, such as resource allocation, disk space management, website analytics, etc. Also, they can be used in multiple industries like healthcare data analysis, market share across different product categories, or even in finance to visualize portfolios.

Real-Life Application of a Treemap Chart

Let’s consider a financial scenario where a financial team wants to represent the budget allocation of a company. There is a hierarchy in the process, so it is helpful to use a treemap chart. In the chart, the top-level rectangle could represent the total budget, and it would be subdivided into smaller rectangles, each denoting a specific department. Further subdivisions within these smaller rectangles might represent individual projects or cost categories.

Step 1: Define Your Data Hierarchy

While presenting data on the budget allocation, start by outlining the hierarchical structure. The sequence will be like the overall budget at the top, followed by departments, projects within each department, and finally, individual cost categories for each project.

  • Top-level rectangle: Total Budget
  • Second-level rectangles: Departments (Engineering, Marketing, Sales)
  • Third-level rectangles: Projects within each department
  • Fourth-level rectangles: Cost categories for each project (Personnel, Marketing Expenses, Equipment)

Step 2: Choose a Suitable Tool

It’s time to select a data visualization tool supporting Treemaps. Popular choices include Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, PowerPoint, or even coding with libraries like D3.js. It is vital to ensure that the chosen tool provides customization options for colors, labels, and hierarchical structures.

Here, the team uses PowerPoint for this guide because of its user-friendly interface and robust Treemap capabilities.

Step 3: Make a Treemap Chart with PowerPoint

After opening the PowerPoint presentation, they chose “SmartArt” to form the chart. The SmartArt Graphic window has a “Hierarchy” category on the left.  Here, you will see multiple options. You can choose any layout that resembles a Treemap. The “Table Hierarchy” or “Organization Chart” options can be adapted. The team selects the Table Hierarchy as it looks close to a Treemap.

Step 5: Input Your Data

After that, a new window will open with a basic structure. They add the data one by one by clicking on the text boxes. They start with the top-level rectangle, representing the total budget.  

Treemap used for presenting data

Step 6: Customize the Treemap

By clicking on each shape, they customize its color, size, and label. At the same time, they can adjust the font size, style, and color of labels by using the options in the “Format” tab in PowerPoint. Using different colors for each level enhances the visual difference.

Treemaps excel at illustrating hierarchical structures. These charts make it easy to understand relationships and dependencies. They efficiently use space, compactly displaying a large amount of data, reducing the need for excessive scrolling or navigation. Additionally, using colors enhances the understanding of data by representing different variables or categories.

In some cases, treemaps might become complex, especially with deep hierarchies.  It becomes challenging for some users to interpret the chart. At the same time, displaying detailed information within each rectangle might be constrained by space. It potentially limits the amount of data that can be shown clearly. Without proper labeling and color coding, there’s a risk of misinterpretation.

A heatmap is a data visualization tool that uses color coding to represent values across a two-dimensional surface. In these, colors replace numbers to indicate the magnitude of each cell. This color-shaded matrix display is valuable for summarizing and understanding data sets with a glance [7] . The intensity of the color corresponds to the value it represents, making it easy to identify patterns, trends, and variations in the data.

As a tool, heatmaps help businesses analyze website interactions, revealing user behavior patterns and preferences to enhance overall user experience. In addition, companies use heatmaps to assess content engagement, identifying popular sections and areas of improvement for more effective communication. They excel at highlighting patterns and trends in large datasets, making it easy to identify areas of interest.

We can implement heatmaps to express multiple data types, such as numerical values, percentages, or even categorical data. Heatmaps help us easily spot areas with lots of activity, making them helpful in figuring out clusters [8] . When making these maps, it is important to pick colors carefully. The colors need to show the differences between groups or levels of something. And it is good to use colors that people with colorblindness can easily see.

Check our detailed guide on how to create a heatmap here. Also discover our collection of heatmap PowerPoint templates .

Pie charts are circular statistical graphics divided into slices to illustrate numerical proportions. Each slice represents a proportionate part of the whole, making it easy to visualize the contribution of each component to the total.

The size of the pie charts is influenced by the value of data points within each pie. The total of all data points in a pie determines its size. The pie with the highest data points appears as the largest, whereas the others are proportionally smaller. However, you can present all pies of the same size if proportional representation is not required [9] . Sometimes, pie charts are difficult to read, or additional information is required. A variation of this tool can be used instead, known as the donut chart , which has the same structure but a blank center, creating a ring shape. Presenters can add extra information, and the ring shape helps to declutter the graph.

Pie charts are used in business to show percentage distribution, compare relative sizes of categories, or present straightforward data sets where visualizing ratios is essential.

Real-Life Application of Pie Charts

Consider a scenario where you want to represent the distribution of the data. Each slice of the pie chart would represent a different category, and the size of each slice would indicate the percentage of the total portion allocated to that category.

Step 1: Define Your Data Structure

Imagine you are presenting the distribution of a project budget among different expense categories.

  • Column A: Expense Categories (Personnel, Equipment, Marketing, Miscellaneous)
  • Column B: Budget Amounts ($40,000, $30,000, $20,000, $10,000) Column B represents the values of your categories in Column A.

Step 2: Insert a Pie Chart

Using any of the accessible tools, you can create a pie chart. The most convenient tools for forming a pie chart in a presentation are presentation tools such as PowerPoint or Google Slides.  You will notice that the pie chart assigns each expense category a percentage of the total budget by dividing it by the total budget.

For instance:

  • Personnel: $40,000 / ($40,000 + $30,000 + $20,000 + $10,000) = 40%
  • Equipment: $30,000 / ($40,000 + $30,000 + $20,000 + $10,000) = 30%
  • Marketing: $20,000 / ($40,000 + $30,000 + $20,000 + $10,000) = 20%
  • Miscellaneous: $10,000 / ($40,000 + $30,000 + $20,000 + $10,000) = 10%

You can make a chart out of this or just pull out the pie chart from the data.

Pie chart template in data presentation

3D pie charts and 3D donut charts are quite popular among the audience. They stand out as visual elements in any presentation slide, so let’s take a look at how our pie chart example would look in 3D pie chart format.

3D pie chart in data presentation

Step 03: Results Interpretation

The pie chart visually illustrates the distribution of the project budget among different expense categories. Personnel constitutes the largest portion at 40%, followed by equipment at 30%, marketing at 20%, and miscellaneous at 10%. This breakdown provides a clear overview of where the project funds are allocated, which helps in informed decision-making and resource management. It is evident that personnel are a significant investment, emphasizing their importance in the overall project budget.

Pie charts provide a straightforward way to represent proportions and percentages. They are easy to understand, even for individuals with limited data analysis experience. These charts work well for small datasets with a limited number of categories.

However, a pie chart can become cluttered and less effective in situations with many categories. Accurate interpretation may be challenging, especially when dealing with slight differences in slice sizes. In addition, these charts are static and do not effectively convey trends over time.

For more information, check our collection of pie chart templates for PowerPoint .

Histograms present the distribution of numerical variables. Unlike a bar chart that records each unique response separately, histograms organize numeric responses into bins and show the frequency of reactions within each bin [10] . The x-axis of a histogram shows the range of values for a numeric variable. At the same time, the y-axis indicates the relative frequencies (percentage of the total counts) for that range of values.

Whenever you want to understand the distribution of your data, check which values are more common, or identify outliers, histograms are your go-to. Think of them as a spotlight on the story your data is telling. A histogram can provide a quick and insightful overview if you’re curious about exam scores, sales figures, or any numerical data distribution.

Real-Life Application of a Histogram

In the histogram data analysis presentation example, imagine an instructor analyzing a class’s grades to identify the most common score range. A histogram could effectively display the distribution. It will show whether most students scored in the average range or if there are significant outliers.

Step 1: Gather Data

He begins by gathering the data. The scores of each student in class are gathered to analyze exam scores.

After arranging the scores in ascending order, bin ranges are set.

Step 2: Define Bins

Bins are like categories that group similar values. Think of them as buckets that organize your data. The presenter decides how wide each bin should be based on the range of the values. For instance, the instructor sets the bin ranges based on score intervals: 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, and 90-100.

Step 3: Count Frequency

Now, he counts how many data points fall into each bin. This step is crucial because it tells you how often specific ranges of values occur. The result is the frequency distribution, showing the occurrences of each group.

Here, the instructor counts the number of students in each category.

  • 60-69: 1 student (Kate)
  • 70-79: 4 students (David, Emma, Grace, Jack)
  • 80-89: 7 students (Alice, Bob, Frank, Isabel, Liam, Mia, Noah)
  • 90-100: 3 students (Clara, Henry, Olivia)

Step 4: Create the Histogram

It’s time to turn the data into a visual representation. Draw a bar for each bin on a graph. The width of the bar should correspond to the range of the bin, and the height should correspond to the frequency.  To make your histogram understandable, label the X and Y axes.

In this case, the X-axis should represent the bins (e.g., test score ranges), and the Y-axis represents the frequency.

Histogram in Data Presentation

The histogram of the class grades reveals insightful patterns in the distribution. Most students, with seven students, fall within the 80-89 score range. The histogram provides a clear visualization of the class’s performance. It showcases a concentration of grades in the upper-middle range with few outliers at both ends. This analysis helps in understanding the overall academic standing of the class. It also identifies the areas for potential improvement or recognition.

Thus, histograms provide a clear visual representation of data distribution. They are easy to interpret, even for those without a statistical background. They apply to various types of data, including continuous and discrete variables. One weak point is that histograms do not capture detailed patterns in students’ data, with seven compared to other visualization methods.

A scatter plot is a graphical representation of the relationship between two variables. It consists of individual data points on a two-dimensional plane. This plane plots one variable on the x-axis and the other on the y-axis. Each point represents a unique observation. It visualizes patterns, trends, or correlations between the two variables.

Scatter plots are also effective in revealing the strength and direction of relationships. They identify outliers and assess the overall distribution of data points. The points’ dispersion and clustering reflect the relationship’s nature, whether it is positive, negative, or lacks a discernible pattern. In business, scatter plots assess relationships between variables such as marketing cost and sales revenue. They help present data correlations and decision-making.

Real-Life Application of Scatter Plot

A group of scientists is conducting a study on the relationship between daily hours of screen time and sleep quality. After reviewing the data, they managed to create this table to help them build a scatter plot graph:

In the provided example, the x-axis represents Daily Hours of Screen Time, and the y-axis represents the Sleep Quality Rating.

Scatter plot in data presentation

The scientists observe a negative correlation between the amount of screen time and the quality of sleep. This is consistent with their hypothesis that blue light, especially before bedtime, has a significant impact on sleep quality and metabolic processes.

There are a few things to remember when using a scatter plot. Even when a scatter diagram indicates a relationship, it doesn’t mean one variable affects the other. A third factor can influence both variables. The more the plot resembles a straight line, the stronger the relationship is perceived [11] . If it suggests no ties, the observed pattern might be due to random fluctuations in data. When the scatter diagram depicts no correlation, whether the data might be stratified is worth considering.

Choosing the appropriate data presentation type is crucial when making a presentation . Understanding the nature of your data and the message you intend to convey will guide this selection process. For instance, when showcasing quantitative relationships, scatter plots become instrumental in revealing correlations between variables. If the focus is on emphasizing parts of a whole, pie charts offer a concise display of proportions. Histograms, on the other hand, prove valuable for illustrating distributions and frequency patterns. 

Bar charts provide a clear visual comparison of different categories. Likewise, line charts excel in showcasing trends over time, while tables are ideal for detailed data examination. Starting a presentation on data presentation types involves evaluating the specific information you want to communicate and selecting the format that aligns with your message. This ensures clarity and resonance with your audience from the beginning of your presentation.

1. Fact Sheet Dashboard for Data Presentation

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Convey all the data you need to present in this one-pager format, an ideal solution tailored for users looking for presentation aids. Global maps, donut chats, column graphs, and text neatly arranged in a clean layout presented in light and dark themes.

Use This Template

2. 3D Column Chart Infographic PPT Template

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Represent column charts in a highly visual 3D format with this PPT template. A creative way to present data, this template is entirely editable, and we can craft either a one-page infographic or a series of slides explaining what we intend to disclose point by point.

3. Data Circles Infographic PowerPoint Template

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

An alternative to the pie chart and donut chart diagrams, this template features a series of curved shapes with bubble callouts as ways of presenting data. Expand the information for each arch in the text placeholder areas.

4. Colorful Metrics Dashboard for Data Presentation

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

This versatile dashboard template helps us in the presentation of the data by offering several graphs and methods to convert numbers into graphics. Implement it for e-commerce projects, financial projections, project development, and more.

5. Animated Data Presentation Tools for PowerPoint & Google Slides

Canvas Shape Tree Diagram Template

A slide deck filled with most of the tools mentioned in this article, from bar charts, column charts, treemap graphs, pie charts, histogram, etc. Animated effects make each slide look dynamic when sharing data with stakeholders.

6. Statistics Waffle Charts PPT Template for Data Presentations

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

This PPT template helps us how to present data beyond the typical pie chart representation. It is widely used for demographics, so it’s a great fit for marketing teams, data science professionals, HR personnel, and more.

7. Data Presentation Dashboard Template for Google Slides

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

A compendium of tools in dashboard format featuring line graphs, bar charts, column charts, and neatly arranged placeholder text areas. 

8. Weather Dashboard for Data Presentation

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Share weather data for agricultural presentation topics, environmental studies, or any kind of presentation that requires a highly visual layout for weather forecasting on a single day. Two color themes are available.

9. Social Media Marketing Dashboard Data Presentation Template

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Intended for marketing professionals, this dashboard template for data presentation is a tool for presenting data analytics from social media channels. Two slide layouts featuring line graphs and column charts.

10. Project Management Summary Dashboard Template

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

A tool crafted for project managers to deliver highly visual reports on a project’s completion, the profits it delivered for the company, and expenses/time required to execute it. 4 different color layouts are available.

11. Profit & Loss Dashboard for PowerPoint and Google Slides

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

A must-have for finance professionals. This typical profit & loss dashboard includes progress bars, donut charts, column charts, line graphs, and everything that’s required to deliver a comprehensive report about a company’s financial situation.

Overwhelming visuals

One of the mistakes related to using data-presenting methods is including too much data or using overly complex visualizations. They can confuse the audience and dilute the key message.

Inappropriate chart types

Choosing the wrong type of chart for the data at hand can lead to misinterpretation. For example, using a pie chart for data that doesn’t represent parts of a whole is not right.

Lack of context

Failing to provide context or sufficient labeling can make it challenging for the audience to understand the significance of the presented data.

Inconsistency in design

Using inconsistent design elements and color schemes across different visualizations can create confusion and visual disarray.

Failure to provide details

Simply presenting raw data without offering clear insights or takeaways can leave the audience without a meaningful conclusion.

Lack of focus

Not having a clear focus on the key message or main takeaway can result in a presentation that lacks a central theme.

Visual accessibility issues

Overlooking the visual accessibility of charts and graphs can exclude certain audience members who may have difficulty interpreting visual information.

In order to avoid these mistakes in data presentation, presenters can benefit from using presentation templates . These templates provide a structured framework. They ensure consistency, clarity, and an aesthetically pleasing design, enhancing data communication’s overall impact.

Understanding and choosing data presentation types are pivotal in effective communication. Each method serves a unique purpose, so selecting the appropriate one depends on the nature of the data and the message to be conveyed. The diverse array of presentation types offers versatility in visually representing information, from bar charts showing values to pie charts illustrating proportions. 

Using the proper method enhances clarity, engages the audience, and ensures that data sets are not just presented but comprehensively understood. By appreciating the strengths and limitations of different presentation types, communicators can tailor their approach to convey information accurately, developing a deeper connection between data and audience understanding.

[1] Government of Canada, S.C. (2021) 5 Data Visualization 5.2 Bar Chart , 5.2 Bar chart .

[2] Kosslyn, S.M., 1989. Understanding charts and graphs. Applied cognitive psychology, 3(3), pp.185-225.

[3] Creating a Dashboard .



[6] Jadeja, M. and Shah, K., 2015, January. Tree-Map: A Visualization Tool for Large Data. In GSB@ SIGIR (pp. 9-13).

[7] Heat Maps and Quilt Plots.


[9] About Pie Charts.

[10] Histograms. [11]

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importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Data Collection, Analysis, and Interpretation

  • First Online: 03 January 2022

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importance of data presentation and analysis in research

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Often it has been said that proper prior preparation prevents performance. Many of the mistakes made in research have their origins back at the point of data collection. Perhaps it is natural human instinct not to plan; we learn from our experiences. However, it is crucial when it comes to the endeavours of science that we do plan our data collection with analysis and interpretation in mind. In this section on data collection, we will review some fundamental concepts of experimental design, sample size estimation, the assumptions that underlie most statistical processes, and ethical principles.

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McEntee, M.F. (2021). Data Collection, Analysis, and Interpretation. In: Seeram, E., Davidson, R., England, A., McEntee, M.F. (eds) Research for Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences. Springer, Cham.

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importance of data presentation and analysis in research

It is the simplest form of data Presentation often used in schools or universities to provide a clearer picture to students, who are better able to capture the concepts effectively through a pictorial Presentation of simple data.

2. Column chart

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

It is a simplified version of the pictorial Presentation which involves the management of a larger amount of data being shared during the presentations and providing suitable clarity to the insights of the data.

3. Pie Charts


Pie charts provide a very descriptive & a 2D depiction of the data pertaining to comparisons or resemblance of data in two separate fields.

4. Bar charts


A bar chart that shows the accumulation of data with cuboid bars with different dimensions & lengths which are directly proportionate to the values they represent. The bars can be placed either vertically or horizontally depending on the data being represented.

5. Histograms

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

It is a perfect Presentation of the spread of numerical data. The main differentiation that separates data graphs and histograms are the gaps in the data graphs.

6. Box plots


Box plot or Box-plot is a way of representing groups of numerical data through quartiles. Data Presentation is easier with this style of graph dealing with the extraction of data to the minutes of difference.

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

Map Data graphs help you with data Presentation over an area to display the areas of concern. Map graphs are useful to make an exact depiction of data over a vast case scenario.

All these visual presentations share a common goal of creating meaningful insights and a platform to understand and manage the data in relation to the growth and expansion of one’s in-depth understanding of data & details to plan or execute future decisions or actions.

Importance of Data Presentation

Data Presentation could be both can be a deal maker or deal breaker based on the delivery of the content in the context of visual depiction.

Data Presentation tools are powerful communication tools that can simplify the data by making it easily understandable & readable at the same time while attracting & keeping the interest of its readers and effectively showcase large amounts of complex data in a simplified manner.

If the user can create an insightful presentation of the data in hand with the same sets of facts and figures, then the results promise to be impressive.

There have been situations where the user has had a great amount of data and vision for expansion but the presentation drowned his/her vision.

To impress the higher management and top brass of a firm, effective presentation of data is needed.

Data Presentation helps the clients or the audience to not spend time grasping the concept and the future alternatives of the business and to convince them to invest in the company & turn it profitable both for the investors & the company.

Although data presentation has a lot to offer, the following are some of the major reason behind the essence of an effective presentation:-

  • Many consumers or higher authorities are interested in the interpretation of data, not the raw data itself. Therefore, after the analysis of the data, users should represent the data with a visual aspect for better understanding and knowledge.
  • The user should not overwhelm the audience with a number of slides of the presentation and inject an ample amount of texts as pictures that will speak for themselves.
  • Data presentation often happens in a nutshell with each department showcasing their achievements towards company growth through a graph or a histogram.
  • Providing a brief description would help the user to attain attention in a small amount of time while informing the audience about the context of the presentation
  • The inclusion of pictures, charts, graphs and tables in the presentation help for better understanding the potential outcomes.
  • An effective presentation would allow the organization to determine the difference with the fellow organization and acknowledge its flaws. Comparison of data would assist them in decision making.

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What Is Data Analysis? (With Examples)

Data analysis is the practice of working with data to glean useful information, which can then be used to make informed decisions.

[Featured image] A female data analyst takes notes on her laptop at a standing desk in a modern office space

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts," Sherlock Holme's proclaims in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia.

This idea lies at the root of data analysis. When we can extract meaning from data, it empowers us to make better decisions. And we’re living in a time when we have more data than ever at our fingertips.

Companies are wisening up to the benefits of leveraging data. Data analysis can help a bank to personalize customer interactions, a health care system to predict future health needs, or an entertainment company to create the next big streaming hit.

The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2023 listed data analysts and scientists as one of the most in-demand jobs, alongside AI and machine learning specialists and big data specialists [ 1 ]. In this article, you'll learn more about the data analysis process, different types of data analysis, and recommended courses to help you get started in this exciting field.

Read more: How to Become a Data Analyst (with or Without a Degree)

Beginner-friendly data analysis courses

Interested in building your knowledge of data analysis today? Consider enrolling in one of these popular courses on Coursera:

In Google's Foundations: Data, Data, Everywhere course, you'll explore key data analysis concepts, tools, and jobs.

In Duke University's Data Analysis and Visualization course, you'll learn how to identify key components for data analytics projects, explore data visualization, and find out how to create a compelling data story.

Data analysis process

As the data available to companies continues to grow both in amount and complexity, so too does the need for an effective and efficient process by which to harness the value of that data. The data analysis process typically moves through several iterative phases. Let’s take a closer look at each.

Identify the business question you’d like to answer. What problem is the company trying to solve? What do you need to measure, and how will you measure it? 

Collect the raw data sets you’ll need to help you answer the identified question. Data collection might come from internal sources, like a company’s client relationship management (CRM) software, or from secondary sources, like government records or social media application programming interfaces (APIs). 

Clean the data to prepare it for analysis. This often involves purging duplicate and anomalous data, reconciling inconsistencies, standardizing data structure and format, and dealing with white spaces and other syntax errors.

Analyze the data. By manipulating the data using various data analysis techniques and tools, you can begin to find trends, correlations, outliers, and variations that tell a story. During this stage, you might use data mining to discover patterns within databases or data visualization software to help transform data into an easy-to-understand graphical format.

Interpret the results of your analysis to see how well the data answered your original question. What recommendations can you make based on the data? What are the limitations to your conclusions? 

You can complete hands-on projects for your portfolio while practicing statistical analysis, data management, and programming with Meta's beginner-friendly Data Analyst Professional Certificate . Designed to prepare you for an entry-level role, this self-paced program can be completed in just 5 months.

Or, L earn more about data analysis in this lecture by Kevin, Director of Data Analytics at Google, from Google's Data Analytics Professional Certificate :

Read more: What Does a Data Analyst Do? A Career Guide

Types of data analysis (with examples)

Data can be used to answer questions and support decisions in many different ways. To identify the best way to analyze your date, it can help to familiarize yourself with the four types of data analysis commonly used in the field.

In this section, we’ll take a look at each of these data analysis methods, along with an example of how each might be applied in the real world.

Descriptive analysis

Descriptive analysis tells us what happened. This type of analysis helps describe or summarize quantitative data by presenting statistics. For example, descriptive statistical analysis could show the distribution of sales across a group of employees and the average sales figure per employee. 

Descriptive analysis answers the question, “what happened?”

Diagnostic analysis

If the descriptive analysis determines the “what,” diagnostic analysis determines the “why.” Let’s say a descriptive analysis shows an unusual influx of patients in a hospital. Drilling into the data further might reveal that many of these patients shared symptoms of a particular virus. This diagnostic analysis can help you determine that an infectious agent—the “why”—led to the influx of patients.

Diagnostic analysis answers the question, “why did it happen?”

Predictive analysis

So far, we’ve looked at types of analysis that examine and draw conclusions about the past. Predictive analytics uses data to form projections about the future. Using predictive analysis, you might notice that a given product has had its best sales during the months of September and October each year, leading you to predict a similar high point during the upcoming year.

Predictive analysis answers the question, “what might happen in the future?”

Prescriptive analysis

Prescriptive analysis takes all the insights gathered from the first three types of analysis and uses them to form recommendations for how a company should act. Using our previous example, this type of analysis might suggest a market plan to build on the success of the high sales months and harness new growth opportunities in the slower months. 

Prescriptive analysis answers the question, “what should we do about it?”

This last type is where the concept of data-driven decision-making comes into play.

Read more : Advanced Analytics: Definition, Benefits, and Use Cases

What is data-driven decision-making (DDDM)?

Data-driven decision-making, sometimes abbreviated to DDDM), can be defined as the process of making strategic business decisions based on facts, data, and metrics instead of intuition, emotion, or observation.

This might sound obvious, but in practice, not all organizations are as data-driven as they could be. According to global management consulting firm McKinsey Global Institute, data-driven companies are better at acquiring new customers, maintaining customer loyalty, and achieving above-average profitability [ 2 ].

Get started with Coursera

If you’re interested in a career in the high-growth field of data analytics, consider these top-rated courses on Coursera:

Begin building job-ready skills with the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate . Prepare for an entry-level job as you learn from Google employees—no experience or degree required.

Practice working with data with Macquarie University's Excel Skills for Business Specialization . Learn how to use Microsoft Excel to analyze data and make data-informed business decisions.

Deepen your skill set with Google's Advanced Data Analytics Professional Certificate . In this advanced program, you'll continue exploring the concepts introduced in the beginner-level courses, plus learn Python, statistics, and Machine Learning concepts.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Where is data analytics used ‎.

Just about any business or organization can use data analytics to help inform their decisions and boost their performance. Some of the most successful companies across a range of industries — from Amazon and Netflix to Starbucks and General Electric — integrate data into their business plans to improve their overall business performance. ‎

What are the top skills for a data analyst? ‎

Data analysis makes use of a range of analysis tools and technologies. Some of the top skills for data analysts include SQL, data visualization, statistical programming languages (like R and Python),  machine learning, and spreadsheets.

Read : 7 In-Demand Data Analyst Skills to Get Hired in 2022 ‎

What is a data analyst job salary? ‎

Data from Glassdoor indicates that the average base salary for a data analyst in the United States is $75,349 as of March 2024 [ 3 ]. How much you make will depend on factors like your qualifications, experience, and location. ‎

Do data analysts need to be good at math? ‎

Data analytics tends to be less math-intensive than data science. While you probably won’t need to master any advanced mathematics, a foundation in basic math and statistical analysis can help set you up for success.

Learn more: Data Analyst vs. Data Scientist: What’s the Difference? ‎

Article sources

World Economic Forum. " The Future of Jobs Report 2023 ," Accessed March 19, 2024.

McKinsey & Company. " Five facts: How customer analytics boosts corporate performance ," Accessed March 19, 2024.

Glassdoor. " Data Analyst Salaries ,,12.htm" Accessed March 19, 2024.

Keep reading

Coursera staff.

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Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

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importance of data presentation and analysis in research

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Data Analysis in Research: Types & Methods


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Why analyze data in research?

Types of data in research, finding patterns in the qualitative data, methods used for data analysis in qualitative research, preparing data for analysis, methods used for data analysis in quantitative research, considerations in research data analysis, what is data analysis in research.

Definition of research in data analysis: According to LeCompte and Schensul, research data analysis is a process used by researchers to reduce data to a story and interpret it to derive insights. The data analysis process helps reduce a large chunk of data into smaller fragments, which makes sense. 

Three essential things occur during the data analysis process — the first is data organization . Summarization and categorization together contribute to becoming the second known method used for data reduction. It helps find patterns and themes in the data for easy identification and linking. The third and last way is data analysis – researchers do it in both top-down and bottom-up fashion.

LEARN ABOUT: Research Process Steps

On the other hand, Marshall and Rossman describe data analysis as a messy, ambiguous, and time-consuming but creative and fascinating process through which a mass of collected data is brought to order, structure and meaning.

We can say that “the data analysis and data interpretation is a process representing the application of deductive and inductive logic to the research and data analysis.”

Researchers rely heavily on data as they have a story to tell or research problems to solve. It starts with a question, and data is nothing but an answer to that question. But, what if there is no question to ask? Well! It is possible to explore data even without a problem – we call it ‘Data Mining’, which often reveals some interesting patterns within the data that are worth exploring.

Irrelevant to the type of data researchers explore, their mission and audiences’ vision guide them to find the patterns to shape the story they want to tell. One of the essential things expected from researchers while analyzing data is to stay open and remain unbiased toward unexpected patterns, expressions, and results. Remember, sometimes, data analysis tells the most unforeseen yet exciting stories that were not expected when initiating data analysis. Therefore, rely on the data you have at hand and enjoy the journey of exploratory research. 

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Every kind of data has a rare quality of describing things after assigning a specific value to it. For analysis, you need to organize these values, processed and presented in a given context, to make it useful. Data can be in different forms; here are the primary data types.

  • Qualitative data: When the data presented has words and descriptions, then we call it qualitative data . Although you can observe this data, it is subjective and harder to analyze data in research, especially for comparison. Example: Quality data represents everything describing taste, experience, texture, or an opinion that is considered quality data. This type of data is usually collected through focus groups, personal qualitative interviews , qualitative observation or using open-ended questions in surveys.
  • Quantitative data: Any data expressed in numbers of numerical figures are called quantitative data . This type of data can be distinguished into categories, grouped, measured, calculated, or ranked. Example: questions such as age, rank, cost, length, weight, scores, etc. everything comes under this type of data. You can present such data in graphical format, charts, or apply statistical analysis methods to this data. The (Outcomes Measurement Systems) OMS questionnaires in surveys are a significant source of collecting numeric data.
  • Categorical data: It is data presented in groups. However, an item included in the categorical data cannot belong to more than one group. Example: A person responding to a survey by telling his living style, marital status, smoking habit, or drinking habit comes under the categorical data. A chi-square test is a standard method used to analyze this data.

Learn More : Examples of Qualitative Data in Education

Data analysis in qualitative research

Data analysis and qualitative data research work a little differently from the numerical data as the quality data is made up of words, descriptions, images, objects, and sometimes symbols. Getting insight from such complicated information is a complicated process. Hence it is typically used for exploratory research and data analysis .

Although there are several ways to find patterns in the textual information, a word-based method is the most relied and widely used global technique for research and data analysis. Notably, the data analysis process in qualitative research is manual. Here the researchers usually read the available data and find repetitive or commonly used words. 

For example, while studying data collected from African countries to understand the most pressing issues people face, researchers might find  “food”  and  “hunger” are the most commonly used words and will highlight them for further analysis.

LEARN ABOUT: Level of Analysis

The keyword context is another widely used word-based technique. In this method, the researcher tries to understand the concept by analyzing the context in which the participants use a particular keyword.  

For example , researchers conducting research and data analysis for studying the concept of ‘diabetes’ amongst respondents might analyze the context of when and how the respondent has used or referred to the word ‘diabetes.’

The scrutiny-based technique is also one of the highly recommended  text analysis  methods used to identify a quality data pattern. Compare and contrast is the widely used method under this technique to differentiate how a specific text is similar or different from each other. 

For example: To find out the “importance of resident doctor in a company,” the collected data is divided into people who think it is necessary to hire a resident doctor and those who think it is unnecessary. Compare and contrast is the best method that can be used to analyze the polls having single-answer questions types .

Metaphors can be used to reduce the data pile and find patterns in it so that it becomes easier to connect data with theory.

Variable Partitioning is another technique used to split variables so that researchers can find more coherent descriptions and explanations from the enormous data.

LEARN ABOUT: Qualitative Research Questions and Questionnaires

There are several techniques to analyze the data in qualitative research, but here are some commonly used methods,

  • Content Analysis:  It is widely accepted and the most frequently employed technique for data analysis in research methodology. It can be used to analyze the documented information from text, images, and sometimes from the physical items. It depends on the research questions to predict when and where to use this method.
  • Narrative Analysis: This method is used to analyze content gathered from various sources such as personal interviews, field observation, and  surveys . The majority of times, stories, or opinions shared by people are focused on finding answers to the research questions.
  • Discourse Analysis:  Similar to narrative analysis, discourse analysis is used to analyze the interactions with people. Nevertheless, this particular method considers the social context under which or within which the communication between the researcher and respondent takes place. In addition to that, discourse analysis also focuses on the lifestyle and day-to-day environment while deriving any conclusion.
  • Grounded Theory:  When you want to explain why a particular phenomenon happened, then using grounded theory for analyzing quality data is the best resort. Grounded theory is applied to study data about the host of similar cases occurring in different settings. When researchers are using this method, they might alter explanations or produce new ones until they arrive at some conclusion.

LEARN ABOUT: 12 Best Tools for Researchers

Data analysis in quantitative research

The first stage in research and data analysis is to make it for the analysis so that the nominal data can be converted into something meaningful. Data preparation consists of the below phases.

Phase I: Data Validation

Data validation is done to understand if the collected data sample is per the pre-set standards, or it is a biased data sample again divided into four different stages

  • Fraud: To ensure an actual human being records each response to the survey or the questionnaire
  • Screening: To make sure each participant or respondent is selected or chosen in compliance with the research criteria
  • Procedure: To ensure ethical standards were maintained while collecting the data sample
  • Completeness: To ensure that the respondent has answered all the questions in an online survey. Else, the interviewer had asked all the questions devised in the questionnaire.

Phase II: Data Editing

More often, an extensive research data sample comes loaded with errors. Respondents sometimes fill in some fields incorrectly or sometimes skip them accidentally. Data editing is a process wherein the researchers have to confirm that the provided data is free of such errors. They need to conduct necessary checks and outlier checks to edit the raw edit and make it ready for analysis.

Phase III: Data Coding

Out of all three, this is the most critical phase of data preparation associated with grouping and assigning values to the survey responses . If a survey is completed with a 1000 sample size, the researcher will create an age bracket to distinguish the respondents based on their age. Thus, it becomes easier to analyze small data buckets rather than deal with the massive data pile.

LEARN ABOUT: Steps in Qualitative Research

After the data is prepared for analysis, researchers are open to using different research and data analysis methods to derive meaningful insights. For sure, statistical analysis plans are the most favored to analyze numerical data. In statistical analysis, distinguishing between categorical data and numerical data is essential, as categorical data involves distinct categories or labels, while numerical data consists of measurable quantities. The method is again classified into two groups. First, ‘Descriptive Statistics’ used to describe data. Second, ‘Inferential statistics’ that helps in comparing the data .

Descriptive statistics

This method is used to describe the basic features of versatile types of data in research. It presents the data in such a meaningful way that pattern in the data starts making sense. Nevertheless, the descriptive analysis does not go beyond making conclusions. The conclusions are again based on the hypothesis researchers have formulated so far. Here are a few major types of descriptive analysis methods.

Measures of Frequency

  • Count, Percent, Frequency
  • It is used to denote home often a particular event occurs.
  • Researchers use it when they want to showcase how often a response is given.

Measures of Central Tendency

  • Mean, Median, Mode
  • The method is widely used to demonstrate distribution by various points.
  • Researchers use this method when they want to showcase the most commonly or averagely indicated response.

Measures of Dispersion or Variation

  • Range, Variance, Standard deviation
  • Here the field equals high/low points.
  • Variance standard deviation = difference between the observed score and mean
  • It is used to identify the spread of scores by stating intervals.
  • Researchers use this method to showcase data spread out. It helps them identify the depth until which the data is spread out that it directly affects the mean.

Measures of Position

  • Percentile ranks, Quartile ranks
  • It relies on standardized scores helping researchers to identify the relationship between different scores.
  • It is often used when researchers want to compare scores with the average count.

For quantitative research use of descriptive analysis often give absolute numbers, but the in-depth analysis is never sufficient to demonstrate the rationale behind those numbers. Nevertheless, it is necessary to think of the best method for research and data analysis suiting your survey questionnaire and what story researchers want to tell. For example, the mean is the best way to demonstrate the students’ average scores in schools. It is better to rely on the descriptive statistics when the researchers intend to keep the research or outcome limited to the provided  sample  without generalizing it. For example, when you want to compare average voting done in two different cities, differential statistics are enough.

Descriptive analysis is also called a ‘univariate analysis’ since it is commonly used to analyze a single variable.

Inferential statistics

Inferential statistics are used to make predictions about a larger population after research and data analysis of the representing population’s collected sample. For example, you can ask some odd 100 audiences at a movie theater if they like the movie they are watching. Researchers then use inferential statistics on the collected  sample  to reason that about 80-90% of people like the movie. 

Here are two significant areas of inferential statistics.

  • Estimating parameters: It takes statistics from the sample research data and demonstrates something about the population parameter.
  • Hypothesis test: I t’s about sampling research data to answer the survey research questions. For example, researchers might be interested to understand if the new shade of lipstick recently launched is good or not, or if the multivitamin capsules help children to perform better at games.

These are sophisticated analysis methods used to showcase the relationship between different variables instead of describing a single variable. It is often used when researchers want something beyond absolute numbers to understand the relationship between variables.

Here are some of the commonly used methods for data analysis in research.

  • Correlation: When researchers are not conducting experimental research or quasi-experimental research wherein the researchers are interested to understand the relationship between two or more variables, they opt for correlational research methods.
  • Cross-tabulation: Also called contingency tables,  cross-tabulation  is used to analyze the relationship between multiple variables.  Suppose provided data has age and gender categories presented in rows and columns. A two-dimensional cross-tabulation helps for seamless data analysis and research by showing the number of males and females in each age category.
  • Regression analysis: For understanding the strong relationship between two variables, researchers do not look beyond the primary and commonly used regression analysis method, which is also a type of predictive analysis used. In this method, you have an essential factor called the dependent variable. You also have multiple independent variables in regression analysis. You undertake efforts to find out the impact of independent variables on the dependent variable. The values of both independent and dependent variables are assumed as being ascertained in an error-free random manner.
  • Frequency tables: The statistical procedure is used for testing the degree to which two or more vary or differ in an experiment. A considerable degree of variation means research findings were significant. In many contexts, ANOVA testing and variance analysis are similar.
  • Analysis of variance: The statistical procedure is used for testing the degree to which two or more vary or differ in an experiment. A considerable degree of variation means research findings were significant. In many contexts, ANOVA testing and variance analysis are similar.
  • Researchers must have the necessary research skills to analyze and manipulation the data , Getting trained to demonstrate a high standard of research practice. Ideally, researchers must possess more than a basic understanding of the rationale of selecting one statistical method over the other to obtain better data insights.
  • Usually, research and data analytics projects differ by scientific discipline; therefore, getting statistical advice at the beginning of analysis helps design a survey questionnaire, select data collection methods , and choose samples.

LEARN ABOUT: Best Data Collection Tools

  • The primary aim of data research and analysis is to derive ultimate insights that are unbiased. Any mistake in or keeping a biased mind to collect data, selecting an analysis method, or choosing  audience  sample il to draw a biased inference.
  • Irrelevant to the sophistication used in research data and analysis is enough to rectify the poorly defined objective outcome measurements. It does not matter if the design is at fault or intentions are not clear, but lack of clarity might mislead readers, so avoid the practice.
  • The motive behind data analysis in research is to present accurate and reliable data. As far as possible, avoid statistical errors, and find a way to deal with everyday challenges like outliers, missing data, data altering, data mining , or developing graphical representation.

LEARN MORE: Descriptive Research vs Correlational Research The sheer amount of data generated daily is frightening. Especially when data analysis has taken center stage. in 2018. In last year, the total data supply amounted to 2.8 trillion gigabytes. Hence, it is clear that the enterprises willing to survive in the hypercompetitive world must possess an excellent capability to analyze complex research data, derive actionable insights, and adapt to the new market needs.

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Leeds Beckett University

Skills for Learning : Research Skills

Data analysis is an ongoing process that should occur throughout your research project. Suitable data-analysis methods must be selected when you write your research proposal. The nature of your data (i.e. quantitative or qualitative) will be influenced by your research design and purpose. The data will also influence the analysis methods selected.

We run interactive workshops to help you develop skills related to doing research, such as data analysis, writing literature reviews and preparing for dissertations. Find out more on the Skills for Learning Workshops page.

We have online academic skills modules within MyBeckett for all levels of university study. These modules will help your academic development and support your success at LBU. You can work through the modules at your own pace, revisiting them as required. Find out more from our FAQ What academic skills modules are available?

Quantitative data analysis

Broadly speaking, 'statistics' refers to methods, tools and techniques used to collect, organise and interpret data. The goal of statistics is to gain understanding from data. Therefore, you need to know how to:

  • Produce data – for example, by handing out a questionnaire or doing an experiment.
  • Organise, summarise, present and analyse data.
  • Draw valid conclusions from findings.

There are a number of statistical methods you can use to analyse data. Choosing an appropriate statistical method should follow naturally, however, from your research design. Therefore, you should think about data analysis at the early stages of your study design. You may need to consult a statistician for help with this.

Tips for working with statistical data

  • Plan so that the data you get has a good chance of successfully tackling the research problem. This will involve reading literature on your subject, as well as on what makes a good study.
  • To reach useful conclusions, you need to reduce uncertainties or 'noise'. Thus, you will need a sufficiently large data sample. A large sample will improve precision. However, this must be balanced against the 'costs' (time and money) of collection.
  • Consider the logistics. Will there be problems in obtaining sufficient high-quality data? Think about accuracy, trustworthiness and completeness.
  • Statistics are based on random samples. Consider whether your sample will be suited to this sort of analysis. Might there be biases to think about?
  • How will you deal with missing values (any data that is not recorded for some reason)? These can result from gaps in a record or whole records being missed out.
  • When analysing data, start by looking at each variable separately. Conduct initial/exploratory data analysis using graphical displays. Do this before looking at variables in conjunction or anything more complicated. This process can help locate errors in the data and also gives you a 'feel' for the data.
  • Look out for patterns of 'missingness'. They are likely to alert you if there’s a problem. If the 'missingness' is not random, then it will have an impact on the results.
  • Be vigilant and think through what you are doing at all times. Think critically. Statistics are not just mathematical tricks that a computer sorts out. Rather, analysing statistical data is a process that the human mind must interpret!

Top tips! Try inventing or generating the sort of data you might get and see if you can analyse it. Make sure that your process works before gathering actual data. Think what the output of an analytic procedure will look like before doing it for real.

(Note: it is actually difficult to generate realistic data. There are fraud-detection methods in place to identify data that has been fabricated. So, remember to get rid of your practice data before analysing the real stuff!)

Statistical software packages

Software packages can be used to analyse and present data. The most widely used ones are SPSS and NVivo.

SPSS is a statistical-analysis and data-management package for quantitative data analysis. Click on ‘ How do I install SPSS? ’ to learn how to download SPSS to your personal device. SPSS can perform a wide variety of statistical procedures. Some examples are:

  • Data management (i.e. creating subsets of data or transforming data).
  • Summarising, describing or presenting data (i.e. mean, median and frequency).
  • Looking at the distribution of data (i.e. standard deviation).
  • Comparing groups for significant differences using parametric (i.e. t-test) and non-parametric (i.e. Chi-square) tests.
  • Identifying significant relationships between variables (i.e. correlation).

NVivo can be used for qualitative data analysis. It is suitable for use with a wide range of methodologies. Click on ‘ How do I access NVivo ’ to learn how to download NVivo to your personal device. NVivo supports grounded theory, survey data, case studies, focus groups, phenomenology, field research and action research.

  • Process data such as interview transcripts, literature or media extracts, and historical documents.
  • Code data on screen and explore all coding and documents interactively.
  • Rearrange, restructure, extend and edit text, coding and coding relationships.
  • Search imported text for words, phrases or patterns, and automatically code the results.

Qualitative data analysis

Miles and Huberman (1994) point out that there are diverse approaches to qualitative research and analysis. They suggest, however, that it is possible to identify 'a fairly classic set of analytic moves arranged in sequence'. This involves:

  • Affixing codes to a set of field notes drawn from observation or interviews.
  • Noting reflections or other remarks in the margins.
  • Sorting/sifting through these materials to identify: a) similar phrases, relationships between variables, patterns and themes and b) distinct differences between subgroups and common sequences.
  • Isolating these patterns/processes and commonalties/differences. Then, taking them out to the field in the next wave of data collection.
  • Highlighting generalisations and relating them to your original research themes.
  • Taking the generalisations and analysing them in relation to theoretical perspectives.

        (Miles and Huberman, 1994.)

Patterns and generalisations are usually arrived at through a process of analytic induction (see above points 5 and 6). Qualitative analysis rarely involves statistical analysis of relationships between variables. Qualitative analysis aims to gain in-depth understanding of concepts, opinions or experiences.

Presenting information

There are a number of different ways of presenting and communicating information. The particular format you use is dependent upon the type of data generated from the methods you have employed.

Here are some appropriate ways of presenting information for different types of data:

Bar charts: These   may be useful for comparing relative sizes. However, they tend to use a large amount of ink to display a relatively small amount of information. Consider a simple line chart as an alternative.

Pie charts: These have the benefit of indicating that the data must add up to 100%. However, they make it difficult for viewers to distinguish relative sizes, especially if two slices have a difference of less than 10%.

Other examples of presenting data in graphical form include line charts and  scatter plots .

Qualitative data is more likely to be presented in text form. For example, using quotations from interviews or field diaries.

  • Plan ahead, thinking carefully about how you will analyse and present your data.
  • Think through possible restrictions to resources you may encounter and plan accordingly.
  • Find out about the different IT packages available for analysing your data and select the most appropriate.
  • If necessary, allow time to attend an introductory course on a particular computer package. You can book SPSS and NVivo workshops via MyHub .
  • Code your data appropriately, assigning conceptual or numerical codes as suitable.
  • Organise your data so it can be analysed and presented easily.
  • Choose the most suitable way of presenting your information, according to the type of data collected. This will allow your information to be understood and interpreted better.

Primary, secondary and tertiary sources

Information sources are sometimes categorised as primary, secondary or tertiary sources depending on whether or not they are ‘original’ materials or data. For some research projects, you may need to use primary sources as well as secondary or tertiary sources. However the distinction between primary and secondary sources is not always clear and depends on the context. For example, a newspaper article might usually be categorised as a secondary source. But it could also be regarded as a primary source if it were an article giving a first-hand account of a historical event written close to the time it occurred.

  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • Tertiary sources
  • Grey literature

Primary sources are original sources of information that provide first-hand accounts of what is being experienced or researched. They enable you to get as close to the actual event or research as possible. They are useful for getting the most contemporary information about a topic.

Examples include diary entries, newspaper articles, census data, journal articles with original reports of research, letters, email or other correspondence, original manuscripts and archives, interviews, research data and reports, statistics, autobiographies, exhibitions, films, and artists' writings.

Some information will be available on an Open Access basis, freely accessible online. However, many academic sources are paywalled, and you may need to login as a Leeds Beckett student to access them. Where Leeds Beckett does not have access to a source, you can use our  Request It! Service .

Secondary sources interpret, evaluate or analyse primary sources. They're useful for providing background information on a topic, or for looking back at an event from a current perspective. The majority of your literature searching will probably be done to find secondary sources on your topic.

Examples include journal articles which review or interpret original findings, popular magazine articles commenting on more serious research, textbooks and biographies.

The term tertiary sources isn't used a great deal. There's overlap between what might be considered a secondary source and a tertiary source. One definition is that a tertiary source brings together secondary sources.

Examples include almanacs, fact books, bibliographies, dictionaries and encyclopaedias, directories, indexes and abstracts. They can be useful for introductory information or an overview of a topic in the early stages of research.

Depending on your subject of study, grey literature may be another source you need to use. Grey literature includes technical or research reports, theses and dissertations, conference papers, government documents, white papers, and so on.

Artificial intelligence tools

Before using any generative artificial intelligence or paraphrasing tools in your assessments, you should check if this is permitted on your course.

If their use is permitted on your course, you must  acknowledge any use of generative artificial intelligence tools  such as ChatGPT or paraphrasing tools (e.g., Grammarly, Quillbot, etc.), even if you have only used them to generate ideas for your assessments or for proofreading.

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With the recent advent of digital tools, the rise in data manipulation has become a key challenge. And so, the scientific community has begun taking a more careful look at scientific malpractice involving data manipulation. But why are data so important in scientific research?

Role of data in science

Reliable data facilitates knowledge generation and reproducibility of key scientific protocols and experiments. For each step of a research project, from data collection to knowledge generation, researchers need to pay careful attention to data analysis to ensure that their results are robust.

In science, data are used to confirm or reject a hypothesis, which can fundamentally change the research landscape. Thus, with respect to the outcome of a specific study, data are expected to fit one of two patterns. However, data may not conform to an apparent pattern. When this happens, researchers may engage in malpractices or use unreliable data collection and analysis methods, jeopardising their reputation and career. Hence, it is necessary to resist the temptation to cherry-pick data. Always let the data speak for itself.

There are two ways to ensure the integrity of data and results.

Data validation

Data validation is a streamlined process that ensures the quality and accuracy of collected data. Inaccurate data may keep a researcher from uncovering important discoveries or lead to spurious results. At times, the amount of data collected might help unravel existing patterns that are important.

The data validation process can also provide a glimpse into the patterns within the data, preventing you from forming incorrect hypotheses.

In addition, data validation can also confirm the legitimacy of your study, and help you get a clearer picture of what your study reveals.

Analytical method validation

Analytical method validation confirms that a method is suitable for its intended purpose and will result in high-quality, accurate results.

Often, different analytical methods can produce surprisingly varying results, despite using the same dataset. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the methods fit the purpose of your research, a feature referred to as ‘system suitability’. This is one of the main objectives of analytical method validation. The other objective of analytical method validation is ensuring the results’ robustness (ability of your method to provide reliable results under various conditions) and reproducibility (ease with which your work can be repeated in a new setting). Reproducibility is important because it allows other researchers to confirm your findings (which can make your work more impactful) or refute your results if unique conditions in your lab favour one result over others. Moreover, as a collaborative enterprise, scientific research rewards the use and sharing of clearly defined analytical processes.

In the long run, it is rewarding for researchers to double-check their dataset and analytical methods than make the data fit an expected pattern.

While data are the crux of a scientific study, unless it is acquired and validated using the most suitable methods of data and method validation, it may fail to produce authentic and legitimate results. To get useful tips on how to collect and validate data, feel free to approach Elsevier Author Services . Our experts will support you throughout your research journey, ensuring that your results are reproducible, robust, and valid.

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Data analysis and findings

Data analysis is the most crucial part of any research. Data analysis summarizes collected data. It involves the interpretation of data gathered through the use of analytical and logical reasoning to determine patterns, relationships or trends. 

Data Analysis Checklist

Cleaning  data

* Did you capture and code your data in the right manner?

*Do you have all data or missing data?

* Do you have enough observations?

* Do you have any outliers? If yes, what is the remedy for outlier?

* Does your data have the potential to answer your questions?

Analyzing data

* Visualize your data, e.g. charts, tables, and graphs, to mention a few.

*  Identify patterns, correlations, and trends

* Test your hypotheses

* Let your data tell a story

Reports the results

* Communicate and interpret the results

* Conclude and recommend

* Your targeted audience must understand your results

* Use more datasets and samples

* Use accessible and understandable data analytical tool

* Do not delegate your data analysis

* Clean data to confirm that they are complete and free from errors

* Analyze cleaned data

* Understand your results

* Keep in mind who will be reading your results and present it in a way that they will understand it

* Share the results with the supervisor oftentimes

Past presentations

  • PhD Writing Retreat - Analysing_Fieldwork_Data by Cori Wielenga A clear and concise presentation on the ‘now what’ and ‘so what’ of data collection and analysis - compiled and originally presented by Cori Wielenga.

Online Resources

importance of data presentation and analysis in research

  • Qualitative analysis of interview data: A step-by-step guide
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Data analysis and presentation

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Scope and purpose Principles Guidelines Quality indicators References

Scope and purpose

Data analysis is the process of developing answers to questions through the examination and interpretation of data.  The basic steps in the analytic process consist of identifying issues, determining the availability of suitable data, deciding on which methods are appropriate for answering the questions of interest, applying the methods and evaluating, summarizing and communicating the results.  

Analytical results underscore the usefulness of data sources by shedding light on relevant issues. Some Statistics Canada programs depend on analytical output as a major data product because, for confidentiality reasons, it is not possible to release the microdata to the public. Data analysis also plays a key role in data quality assessment by pointing to data quality problems in a given survey. Analysis can thus influence future improvements to the survey process.

Data analysis is essential for understanding results from surveys, administrative sources and pilot studies; for providing information on data gaps; for designing and redesigning surveys; for planning new statistical activities; and for formulating quality objectives.

Results of data analysis are often published or summarized in official Statistics Canada releases. 

A statistical agency is concerned with the relevance and usefulness to users of the information contained in its data. Analysis is the principal tool for obtaining information from the data.

Data from a survey can be used for descriptive or analytic studies. Descriptive studies are directed at the estimation of summary measures of a target population, for example, the average profits of owner-operated businesses in 2005 or the proportion of 2007 high school graduates who went on to higher education in the next twelve months.  Analytical studies may be used to explain the behaviour of and relationships among characteristics; for example, a study of risk factors for obesity in children would be analytic. 

To be effective, the analyst needs to understand the relevant issues both current and those likely to emerge in the future and how to present the results to the audience. The study of background information allows the analyst to choose suitable data sources and appropriate statistical methods. Any conclusions presented in an analysis, including those that can impact public policy, must be supported by the data being analyzed.

Initial preparation

Prior to conducting an analytical study the following questions should be addressed:

Objectives. What are the objectives of this analysis? What issue am I addressing? What question(s) will I answer?

Justification. Why is this issue interesting?  How will these answers contribute to existing knowledge? How is this study relevant?

Data. What data am I using? Why it is the best source for this analysis? Are there any limitations?

Analytical methods. What statistical techniques are appropriate? Will they satisfy the objectives?

Audience. Who is interested in this issue and why?

  Suitable data

Ensure that the data are appropriate for the analysis to be carried out.  This requires investigation of a wide range of details such as whether the target population of the data source is sufficiently related to the target population of the analysis, whether the source variables and their concepts and definitions are relevant to the study, whether the longitudinal or cross-sectional nature of the data source is appropriate for the analysis, whether the sample size in the study domain is sufficient to obtain meaningful results and whether the quality of the data, as outlined in the survey documentation or assessed through analysis is sufficient.

 If more than one data source is being used for the analysis, investigate whether the sources are consistent and how they may be appropriately integrated into the analysis.

Appropriate methods and tools

Choose an analytical approach that is appropriate for the question being investigated and the data to be analyzed. 

When analyzing data from a probability sample, analytical methods that ignore the survey design can be appropriate, provided that sufficient model conditions for analysis are met. (See Binder and Roberts, 2003.) However, methods that incorporate the sample design information will generally be effective even when some aspects of the model are incorrectly specified.

Assess whether the survey design information can be incorporated into the analysis and if so how this should be done such as using design-based methods.  See Binder and Roberts (2009) and Thompson (1997) for discussion of approaches to inferences on data from a probability sample.

See Chambers and Skinner (2003), Korn and Graubard (1999), Lehtonen and Pahkinen (1995), Lohr (1999), and Skinner, Holt and Smith (1989) for a number of examples illustrating design-based analytical methods.

For a design-based analysis consult the survey documentation about the recommended approach for variance estimation for the survey. If the data from more than one survey are included in the same analysis, determine whether or not the different samples were independently selected and how this would impact the appropriate approach to variance estimation.

The data files for probability surveys frequently contain more than one weight variable, particularly if the survey is longitudinal or if it has both cross-sectional and longitudinal purposes. Consult the survey documentation and survey experts if it is not obvious as to which might be the best weight to be used in any particular design-based analysis.

When analyzing data from a probability survey, there may be insufficient design information available to carry out analyses using a full design-based approach.  Assess the alternatives.

Consult with experts on the subject matter, on the data source and on the statistical methods if any of these is unfamiliar to you.

Having determined the appropriate analytical method for the data, investigate the software choices that are available to apply the method. If analyzing data from a probability sample by design-based methods, use software specifically for survey data since standard analytical software packages that can produce weighted point estimates do not correctly calculate variances for survey-weighted estimates.

It is advisable to use commercial software, if suitable, for implementing the chosen analyses, since these software packages have usually undergone more testing than non-commercial software.

Determine whether it is necessary to reformat your data in order to use the selected software.

Include a variety of diagnostics among your analytical methods if you are fitting any models to your data.

Refer to the documentation about the data source to determine the degree and types of missing data and the processing of missing data that has been performed.  This information will be a starting point for what further work may be required.

Consider how unit and/or item nonresponse could be handled in the analysis, taking into consideration the degree and types of missing data in the data sources being used.

Consider whether imputed values should be included in the analysis and if so, how they should be handled.  If imputed values are not used, consideration must be given to what other methods may be used to properly account for the effect of nonresponse in the analysis.

If the analysis includes modelling, it could be appropriate to include some aspects of nonresponse in the analytical model.

Report any caveats about how the approaches used to handle missing data could have impact on results

Interpretation of results

Since most analyses are based on observational studies rather than on the results of a controlled experiment, avoid drawing conclusions concerning causality.

When studying changes over time, beware of focusing on short-term trends without inspecting them in light of medium-and long-term trends. Frequently, short-term trends are merely minor fluctuations around a more important medium- and/or long-term trend.

Where possible, avoid arbitrary time reference points. Instead, use meaningful points of reference, such as the last major turning point for economic data, generation-to-generation differences for demographic statistics, and legislative changes for social statistics.

Presentation of results

Focus the article on the important variables and topics. Trying to be too comprehensive will often interfere with a strong story line.

Arrange ideas in a logical order and in order of relevance or importance. Use headings, subheadings and sidebars to strengthen the organization of the article.

Keep the language as simple as the subject permits. Depending on the targeted audience for the article, some loss of precision may sometimes be an acceptable trade-off for more readable text.

Use graphs in addition to text and tables to communicate the message. Use headings that capture the meaning ( e.g. "Women's earnings still trail men's") in preference to traditional chart titles ( e.g. "Income by age and sex"). Always help readers understand the information in the tables and charts by discussing it in the text.

When tables are used, take care that the overall format contributes to the clarity of the data in the tables and prevents misinterpretation.  This includes spacing; the wording, placement and appearance of titles; row and column headings and other labeling. 

Explain rounding practices or procedures. In the presentation of rounded data, do not use more significant digits than are consistent with the accuracy of the data.

Satisfy any confidentiality requirements ( e.g. minimum cell sizes) imposed by the surveys or administrative sources whose data are being analysed.

Include information about the data sources used and any shortcomings in the data that may have affected the analysis.  Either have a section in the paper about the data or a reference to where the reader can get the details.

Include information about the analytical methods and tools used.  Either have a section on methods or a reference to where the reader can get the details.

Include information regarding the quality of the results. Standard errors, confidence intervals and/or coefficients of variation provide the reader important information about data quality. The choice of indicator may vary depending on where the article is published.

Ensure that all references are accurate, consistent and are referenced in the text.

Check for errors in the article. Check details such as the consistency of figures used in the text, tables and charts, the accuracy of external data, and simple arithmetic.

Ensure that the intentions stated in the introduction are fulfilled by the rest of the article. Make sure that the conclusions are consistent with the evidence.

Have the article reviewed by others for relevance, accuracy and comprehensibility, regardless of where it is to be disseminated.  As a good practice, ask someone from the data providing division to review how the data were used.  If the article is to be disseminated outside of Statistics Canada, it must undergo institutional and peer review as specified in the Policy on the Review of Information Products (Statistics Canada, 2003). 

If the article is to be disseminated in a Statistics Canada publication make sure that it complies with the current Statistics Canada Publishing Standards. These standards affect graphs, tables and style, among other things.

As a good practice, consider presenting the results to peers prior to finalizing the text. This is another kind of peer review that can help improve the article. Always do a dry run of presentations involving external audiences.

Refer to available documents that could provide further guidance for improvement of your article, such as Guidelines on Writing Analytical Articles (Statistics Canada 2008 ) and the Style Guide (Statistics Canada 2004)

Quality indicators

Main quality elements:  relevance, interpretability, accuracy, accessibility

An analytical product is relevant if there is an audience who is (or will be) interested in the results of the study.

For the interpretability of an analytical article to be high, the style of writing must suit the intended audience. As well, sufficient details must be provided that another person, if allowed access to the data, could replicate the results.

For an analytical product to be accurate, appropriate methods and tools need to be used to produce the results.

For an analytical product to be accessible, it must be available to people for whom the research results would be useful.

Binder, D.A. and G.R. Roberts. 2003. "Design-based methods for estimating model parameters."  In Analysis of Survey Data. R.L. Chambers and C.J. Skinner ( eds. ) Chichester. Wiley. p. 29-48.

Binder, D.A. and G. Roberts. 2009. "Design and Model Based Inference for Model Parameters." In Handbook of Statistics 29B: Sample Surveys: Inference and Analysis. Pfeffermann, D. and Rao, C.R. ( eds. ) Vol. 29B. Chapter 24. Amsterdam.Elsevier. 666 p.

Chambers, R.L. and C.J. Skinner ( eds. ) 2003. Analysis of Survey Data. Chichester. Wiley. 398 p.

Korn, E.L. and B.I. Graubard. 1999. Analysis of Health Surveys. New York. Wiley. 408 p.

Lehtonen, R. and E.J. Pahkinen. 2004. Practical Methods for Design and Analysis of Complex Surveys.Second edition. Chichester. Wiley.

Lohr, S.L. 1999. Sampling: Design and Analysis. Duxbury Press. 512 p.

Skinner, C.K., D.Holt and T.M.F. Smith. 1989. Analysis of Complex Surveys. Chichester. Wiley. 328 p.

Thompson, M.E. 1997. Theory of Sample Surveys. London. Chapman and Hall. 312 p.

Statistics Canada. 2003. "Policy on the Review of Information Products." Statistics Canada Policy Manual. Section 2.5. Last updated March 4, 2009.

Statistics Canada. 2004. Style Guide.  Last updated October 6, 2004.

Statistics Canada. 2008. Guidelines on Writing Analytical Articles. Last updated September 16, 2008.

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What the data says about Americans’ views of climate change

Activists display prints replicating solar panels during a rally to mark Earth Day at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., on April 23, 2022. (Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP File)

A recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has underscored the need for international action to avoid increasingly severe climate impacts in the years to come. Steps outlined in the report, and by climate experts, include major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from sectors such as energy production and transportation.

But how do Americans feel about climate change, and what steps do they think the United States should take to address it? Here are eight charts that illustrate Americans’ views on the issue, based on recent Pew Research Center surveys.

Pew Research Center published this collection of survey findings as part of its ongoing work to understand attitudes about climate change and energy issues. The most recent survey was conducted May 30-June 4, 2023, among 10,329 U.S. adults. Earlier findings have been previously published, and methodological information, including the sample sizes and field dates, can be found by following the links in the text.

Everyone who took part in the June 2023 survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way, nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology .

Here are the questions used for this analysis , along with responses, and its methodology .

A majority of Americans support prioritizing the development of renewable energy sources. Two-thirds of U.S. adults say the country should prioritize developing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, over expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas, according to a survey conducted in June 2023.

A bar chart showing that two-thirds of Americans prioritize developing alternative energy sources, like wind and solar.

In a previous Center survey conducted in 2022, nearly the same share of Americans (69%) favored the U.S. taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2050 , a goal outlined by President Joe Biden at the outset of his administration. Carbon neutrality means releasing no more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than is removed.

Nine-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say the U.S. should prioritize developing alternative energy sources to address America’s energy supply. Among Republicans and Republican leaners, 42% support developing alternative energy sources, while 58% say the country should prioritize expanding exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas.

There are important differences by age within the GOP. Two-thirds of Republicans under age 30 (67%) prioritize the development of alternative energy sources. By contrast, 75% of Republicans ages 65 and older prioritize expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas.

Americans are reluctant to phase out fossil fuels altogether, but younger adults are more open to it. Overall, about three-in-ten adults (31%) say the U.S. should completely phase out oil, coal and natural gas. More than twice as many (68%) say the country should use a mix of energy sources, including fossil fuels and renewables.

A bar chart that shows younger U.S. adults are more open than older adults to phasing out fossil fuels completely.

While the public is generally reluctant to phase out fossil fuels altogether, younger adults are more supportive of this idea. Among Americans ages 18 to 29, 48% say the U.S. should exclusively use renewables, compared with 52% who say the U.S. should use a mix of energy sources, including fossil fuels.

There are age differences within both political parties on this question. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 58% of those ages 18 to 29 favor phasing out fossil fuels entirely, compared with 42% of Democrats 65 and older. Republicans of all age groups back continuing to use a mix of energy sources, including oil, coal and natural gas. However, about three-in-ten (29%) Republicans ages 18 to 29 say the U.S. should phase out fossil fuels altogether, compared with fewer than one-in-ten Republicans 50 and older.

There are multiple potential routes to carbon neutrality in the U.S. All involve major reductions to carbon emissions in sectors such as energy and transportation by increasing the use of things like wind and solar power and electric vehicles. There are also ways to potentially remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it, such as capturing it directly from the air or using trees and algae to facilitate carbon sequestration.

The public supports the federal government incentivizing wind and solar energy production. In many sectors, including energy and transportation, federal incentives and regulations significantly influence investment and development.

A bar chart showing that two-thirds of U.S. adults say the federal government should encourage production of wind and solar power.

Two-thirds of Americans think the federal government should encourage domestic production of wind and solar power. Just 7% say the government should discourage this, while 26% think it should neither encourage nor discourage it.

Views are more mixed on how the federal government should approach other activities that would reduce carbon emissions. On balance, more Americans think the government should encourage than discourage the use of electric vehicles and nuclear power production, though sizable shares say it should not exert an influence either way.

When it comes to oil and gas drilling, Americans’ views are also closely divided: 34% think the government should encourage drilling, while 30% say it should discourage this and 35% say it should do neither. Coal mining is the one activity included in the survey where public sentiment is negative on balance: More say the federal government should discourage than encourage coal mining (39% vs. 21%), while 39% say it should do neither.

Americans see room for multiple actors – including corporations and the federal government – to do more to address the impacts of climate change. Two-thirds of adults say large businesses and corporations are doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. Far fewer say they are doing about the right amount (21%) or too much (10%).

A bar chart showing that two-thirds say large businesses and corporations are doing too little to reduce climate change effects.

Majorities also say their state elected officials (58%) and the energy industry (55%) are doing too little to address climate change, according to a March 2023 survey.

In a separate Center survey conducted in June 2023, a similar share of Americans (56%) said the federal government should do more to reduce the effects of global climate change.

When it comes to their own efforts, about half of Americans (51%) think they are doing about the right amount as an individual to help reduce the effects of climate change, according to the March 2023 survey. However, about four-in-ten (43%) say they are doing too little.

Democrats and Republicans have grown further apart over the last decade in their assessments of the threat posed by climate change. Overall, a majority of U.S. adults (54%) describe climate change as a major threat to the country’s well-being. This share is down slightly from 2020 but remains higher than in the early 2010s.

A line chart that shows 54% of Americans view climate change as a major threat, but the partisan divide has grown.

Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats (78%) describe climate change as a major threat to the country’s well-being, up from about six-in-ten (58%) a decade ago. By contrast, about one-in-four Republicans (23%) consider climate change a major threat, a share that’s almost identical to 10 years ago.

Concern over climate change has also risen internationally, as shown by separate Pew Research Center polling across 19 countries in 2022. People in many advanced economies express higher levels of concern than Americans . For instance, 81% of French adults and 73% of Germans describe climate change as a major threat.

Climate change is a lower priority for Americans than other national issues. While a majority of adults view climate change as a major threat, it is a lower priority than issues such as strengthening the economy and reducing health care costs.

Overall, 37% of Americans say addressing climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress in 2023, and another 34% say it’s an important but lower priority. This ranks climate change 17th out of 21 national issues included in a Center survey from January.

As with views of the threat that climate change poses, there’s a striking contrast between how Republicans and Democrats prioritize the issue. For Democrats, it falls in the top half of priority issues, and 59% call it a top priority. By comparison, among Republicans, it ranks second to last, and just 13% describe it as a top priority.

Our analyses have found that partisan gaps on climate change are often widest on questions – such as this one – that measure the salience or importance of the issue. The gaps are more modest when it comes to some specific climate policies. For example, majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike say they would favor a proposal to provide a tax credit to businesses for developing technologies for carbon capture and storage.

A dot plot that shows climate change is a much lower priority for Republicans than for Democrats.

Perceptions of local climate impacts vary by Americans’ political affiliation and whether they believe that climate change is a serious problem. A majority of Americans (61%) say that global climate change is affecting their local community either a great deal or some. About four-in-ten (39%) see little or no impact in their own community.

A bar chart that shows Democrats more likely than Republicans to see local effects of climate change.

The perception that the effects of climate change are happening close to home is one factor that could drive public concern and calls for action on the issue. But perceptions are tied more strongly to people’s beliefs about climate change – and their partisan affiliation – than to local conditions.

For example, Americans living in the Pacific region – California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska – are more likely than those in other areas of the country to say that climate change is having a great deal of impact locally. But only Democrats in the Pacific region are more likely to say they are seeing effects of climate change where they live. Republicans in this region are no more likely than Republicans in other areas to say that climate change is affecting their local community.

Our previous surveys show that nearly all Democrats believe climate change is at least a somewhat serious problem, and a large majority believe that humans play a role in it. Republicans are much less likely to hold these beliefs, but views within the GOP do vary significantly by age and ideology. Younger Republicans and those who describe their views as moderate or liberal are much more likely than older and more conservative Republicans to describe climate change as at least a somewhat serious problem and to say human activity plays a role.

Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to report experiencing extreme weather events in their area over the past year – such as intense storms and floods, long periods of hot weather or droughts – and to see these events as connected with climate change.

About three-quarters of Americans support U.S. participation in international efforts to reduce the effects of climate change. Americans offer broad support for international engagement on climate change: 74% say they support U.S. participation in international efforts to reduce the effects of climate change.

A bar chart showing that about three-quarters of Americans support a U.S. role in global efforts to address climate change.

Still, there’s little consensus on how current U.S. efforts stack up against those of other large economies. About one-in-three Americans (36%) think the U.S. is doing more than other large economies to reduce the effects of global climate change, while 30% say the U.S. is doing less than other large economies and 32% think it is doing about as much as others. The U.S. is the second-largest carbon dioxide emitter , contributing about 13.5% of the global total.

When asked what they think the right balance of responsibility is, a majority of Americans (56%) say the U.S. should do about as much as other large economies to reduce the effects of climate change, while 27% think it should do more than others.

A previous Center survey found that while Americans favor international cooperation on climate change in general terms, their support has its limits. In January 2022 , 59% of Americans said that the U.S. does not have a responsibility to provide financial assistance to developing countries to help them build renewable energy sources.

In recent years, the UN conference on climate change has grappled with how wealthier nations should assist developing countries in dealing with climate change. The most recent convening in fall 2022, known as COP27, established a “loss and damage” fund for vulnerable countries impacted by climate change.

Note: This is an update of a post originally published April 22, 2022. Here are the questions used for this analysis , along with responses, and its methodology .

  • Climate, Energy & Environment
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Alec Tyson is an associate director of research at Pew Research Center

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Cary Funk is director of science and society research at Pew Research Center

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Brian Kennedy is a senior researcher focusing on science and society research at Pew Research Center

How Republicans view climate change and energy issues

How americans view future harms from climate change in their community and around the u.s., americans continue to have doubts about climate scientists’ understanding of climate change, growing share of americans favor more nuclear power, why some americans do not see urgency on climate change, most popular.

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Qualitative Research: Data Collection, Analysis, and Management


In an earlier paper, 1 we presented an introduction to using qualitative research methods in pharmacy practice. In this article, we review some principles of the collection, analysis, and management of qualitative data to help pharmacists interested in doing research in their practice to continue their learning in this area. Qualitative research can help researchers to access the thoughts and feelings of research participants, which can enable development of an understanding of the meaning that people ascribe to their experiences. Whereas quantitative research methods can be used to determine how many people undertake particular behaviours, qualitative methods can help researchers to understand how and why such behaviours take place. Within the context of pharmacy practice research, qualitative approaches have been used to examine a diverse array of topics, including the perceptions of key stakeholders regarding prescribing by pharmacists and the postgraduation employment experiences of young pharmacists (see “Further Reading” section at the end of this article).

In the previous paper, 1 we outlined 3 commonly used methodologies: ethnography 2 , grounded theory 3 , and phenomenology. 4 Briefly, ethnography involves researchers using direct observation to study participants in their “real life” environment, sometimes over extended periods. Grounded theory and its later modified versions (e.g., Strauss and Corbin 5 ) use face-to-face interviews and interactions such as focus groups to explore a particular research phenomenon and may help in clarifying a less-well-understood problem, situation, or context. Phenomenology shares some features with grounded theory (such as an exploration of participants’ behaviour) and uses similar techniques to collect data, but it focuses on understanding how human beings experience their world. It gives researchers the opportunity to put themselves in another person’s shoes and to understand the subjective experiences of participants. 6 Some researchers use qualitative methodologies but adopt a different standpoint, and an example of this appears in the work of Thurston and others, 7 discussed later in this paper.

Qualitative work requires reflection on the part of researchers, both before and during the research process, as a way of providing context and understanding for readers. When being reflexive, researchers should not try to simply ignore or avoid their own biases (as this would likely be impossible); instead, reflexivity requires researchers to reflect upon and clearly articulate their position and subjectivities (world view, perspectives, biases), so that readers can better understand the filters through which questions were asked, data were gathered and analyzed, and findings were reported. From this perspective, bias and subjectivity are not inherently negative but they are unavoidable; as a result, it is best that they be articulated up-front in a manner that is clear and coherent for readers.


What qualitative study seeks to convey is why people have thoughts and feelings that might affect the way they behave. Such study may occur in any number of contexts, but here, we focus on pharmacy practice and the way people behave with regard to medicines use (e.g., to understand patients’ reasons for nonadherence with medication therapy or to explore physicians’ resistance to pharmacists’ clinical suggestions). As we suggested in our earlier article, 1 an important point about qualitative research is that there is no attempt to generalize the findings to a wider population. Qualitative research is used to gain insights into people’s feelings and thoughts, which may provide the basis for a future stand-alone qualitative study or may help researchers to map out survey instruments for use in a quantitative study. It is also possible to use different types of research in the same study, an approach known as “mixed methods” research, and further reading on this topic may be found at the end of this paper.

The role of the researcher in qualitative research is to attempt to access the thoughts and feelings of study participants. This is not an easy task, as it involves asking people to talk about things that may be very personal to them. Sometimes the experiences being explored are fresh in the participant’s mind, whereas on other occasions reliving past experiences may be difficult. However the data are being collected, a primary responsibility of the researcher is to safeguard participants and their data. Mechanisms for such safeguarding must be clearly articulated to participants and must be approved by a relevant research ethics review board before the research begins. Researchers and practitioners new to qualitative research should seek advice from an experienced qualitative researcher before embarking on their project.


Whatever philosophical standpoint the researcher is taking and whatever the data collection method (e.g., focus group, one-to-one interviews), the process will involve the generation of large amounts of data. In addition to the variety of study methodologies available, there are also different ways of making a record of what is said and done during an interview or focus group, such as taking handwritten notes or video-recording. If the researcher is audio- or video-recording data collection, then the recordings must be transcribed verbatim before data analysis can begin. As a rough guide, it can take an experienced researcher/transcriber 8 hours to transcribe one 45-minute audio-recorded interview, a process than will generate 20–30 pages of written dialogue.

Many researchers will also maintain a folder of “field notes” to complement audio-taped interviews. Field notes allow the researcher to maintain and comment upon impressions, environmental contexts, behaviours, and nonverbal cues that may not be adequately captured through the audio-recording; they are typically handwritten in a small notebook at the same time the interview takes place. Field notes can provide important context to the interpretation of audio-taped data and can help remind the researcher of situational factors that may be important during data analysis. Such notes need not be formal, but they should be maintained and secured in a similar manner to audio tapes and transcripts, as they contain sensitive information and are relevant to the research. For more information about collecting qualitative data, please see the “Further Reading” section at the end of this paper.


If, as suggested earlier, doing qualitative research is about putting oneself in another person’s shoes and seeing the world from that person’s perspective, the most important part of data analysis and management is to be true to the participants. It is their voices that the researcher is trying to hear, so that they can be interpreted and reported on for others to read and learn from. To illustrate this point, consider the anonymized transcript excerpt presented in Appendix 1 , which is taken from a research interview conducted by one of the authors (J.S.). We refer to this excerpt throughout the remainder of this paper to illustrate how data can be managed, analyzed, and presented.

Interpretation of Data

Interpretation of the data will depend on the theoretical standpoint taken by researchers. For example, the title of the research report by Thurston and others, 7 “Discordant indigenous and provider frames explain challenges in improving access to arthritis care: a qualitative study using constructivist grounded theory,” indicates at least 2 theoretical standpoints. The first is the culture of the indigenous population of Canada and the place of this population in society, and the second is the social constructivist theory used in the constructivist grounded theory method. With regard to the first standpoint, it can be surmised that, to have decided to conduct the research, the researchers must have felt that there was anecdotal evidence of differences in access to arthritis care for patients from indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds. With regard to the second standpoint, it can be surmised that the researchers used social constructivist theory because it assumes that behaviour is socially constructed; in other words, people do things because of the expectations of those in their personal world or in the wider society in which they live. (Please see the “Further Reading” section for resources providing more information about social constructivist theory and reflexivity.) Thus, these 2 standpoints (and there may have been others relevant to the research of Thurston and others 7 ) will have affected the way in which these researchers interpreted the experiences of the indigenous population participants and those providing their care. Another standpoint is feminist standpoint theory which, among other things, focuses on marginalized groups in society. Such theories are helpful to researchers, as they enable us to think about things from a different perspective. Being aware of the standpoints you are taking in your own research is one of the foundations of qualitative work. Without such awareness, it is easy to slip into interpreting other people’s narratives from your own viewpoint, rather than that of the participants.

To analyze the example in Appendix 1 , we will adopt a phenomenological approach because we want to understand how the participant experienced the illness and we want to try to see the experience from that person’s perspective. It is important for the researcher to reflect upon and articulate his or her starting point for such analysis; for example, in the example, the coder could reflect upon her own experience as a female of a majority ethnocultural group who has lived within middle class and upper middle class settings. This personal history therefore forms the filter through which the data will be examined. This filter does not diminish the quality or significance of the analysis, since every researcher has his or her own filters; however, by explicitly stating and acknowledging what these filters are, the researcher makes it easer for readers to contextualize the work.

Transcribing and Checking

For the purposes of this paper it is assumed that interviews or focus groups have been audio-recorded. As mentioned above, transcribing is an arduous process, even for the most experienced transcribers, but it must be done to convert the spoken word to the written word to facilitate analysis. For anyone new to conducting qualitative research, it is beneficial to transcribe at least one interview and one focus group. It is only by doing this that researchers realize how difficult the task is, and this realization affects their expectations when asking others to transcribe. If the research project has sufficient funding, then a professional transcriber can be hired to do the work. If this is the case, then it is a good idea to sit down with the transcriber, if possible, and talk through the research and what the participants were talking about. This background knowledge for the transcriber is especially important in research in which people are using jargon or medical terms (as in pharmacy practice). Involving your transcriber in this way makes the work both easier and more rewarding, as he or she will feel part of the team. Transcription editing software is also available, but it is expensive. For example, ELAN (more formally known as EUDICO Linguistic Annotator, developed at the Technical University of Berlin) 8 is a tool that can help keep data organized by linking media and data files (particularly valuable if, for example, video-taping of interviews is complemented by transcriptions). It can also be helpful in searching complex data sets. Products such as ELAN do not actually automatically transcribe interviews or complete analyses, and they do require some time and effort to learn; nonetheless, for some research applications, it may be a valuable to consider such software tools.

All audio recordings should be transcribed verbatim, regardless of how intelligible the transcript may be when it is read back. Lines of text should be numbered. Once the transcription is complete, the researcher should read it while listening to the recording and do the following: correct any spelling or other errors; anonymize the transcript so that the participant cannot be identified from anything that is said (e.g., names, places, significant events); insert notations for pauses, laughter, looks of discomfort; insert any punctuation, such as commas and full stops (periods) (see Appendix 1 for examples of inserted punctuation), and include any other contextual information that might have affected the participant (e.g., temperature or comfort of the room).

Dealing with the transcription of a focus group is slightly more difficult, as multiple voices are involved. One way of transcribing such data is to “tag” each voice (e.g., Voice A, Voice B). In addition, the focus group will usually have 2 facilitators, whose respective roles will help in making sense of the data. While one facilitator guides participants through the topic, the other can make notes about context and group dynamics. More information about group dynamics and focus groups can be found in resources listed in the “Further Reading” section.

Reading between the Lines

During the process outlined above, the researcher can begin to get a feel for the participant’s experience of the phenomenon in question and can start to think about things that could be pursued in subsequent interviews or focus groups (if appropriate). In this way, one participant’s narrative informs the next, and the researcher can continue to interview until nothing new is being heard or, as it says in the text books, “saturation is reached”. While continuing with the processes of coding and theming (described in the next 2 sections), it is important to consider not just what the person is saying but also what they are not saying. For example, is a lengthy pause an indication that the participant is finding the subject difficult, or is the person simply deciding what to say? The aim of the whole process from data collection to presentation is to tell the participants’ stories using exemplars from their own narratives, thus grounding the research findings in the participants’ lived experiences.

Smith 9 suggested a qualitative research method known as interpretative phenomenological analysis, which has 2 basic tenets: first, that it is rooted in phenomenology, attempting to understand the meaning that individuals ascribe to their lived experiences, and second, that the researcher must attempt to interpret this meaning in the context of the research. That the researcher has some knowledge and expertise in the subject of the research means that he or she can have considerable scope in interpreting the participant’s experiences. Larkin and others 10 discussed the importance of not just providing a description of what participants say. Rather, interpretative phenomenological analysis is about getting underneath what a person is saying to try to truly understand the world from his or her perspective.

Once all of the research interviews have been transcribed and checked, it is time to begin coding. Field notes compiled during an interview can be a useful complementary source of information to facilitate this process, as the gap in time between an interview, transcribing, and coding can result in memory bias regarding nonverbal or environmental context issues that may affect interpretation of data.

Coding refers to the identification of topics, issues, similarities, and differences that are revealed through the participants’ narratives and interpreted by the researcher. This process enables the researcher to begin to understand the world from each participant’s perspective. Coding can be done by hand on a hard copy of the transcript, by making notes in the margin or by highlighting and naming sections of text. More commonly, researchers use qualitative research software (e.g., NVivo, QSR International Pty Ltd; ) to help manage their transcriptions. It is advised that researchers undertake a formal course in the use of such software or seek supervision from a researcher experienced in these tools.

Returning to Appendix 1 and reading from lines 8–11, a code for this section might be “diagnosis of mental health condition”, but this would just be a description of what the participant is talking about at that point. If we read a little more deeply, we can ask ourselves how the participant might have come to feel that the doctor assumed he or she was aware of the diagnosis or indeed that they had only just been told the diagnosis. There are a number of pauses in the narrative that might suggest the participant is finding it difficult to recall that experience. Later in the text, the participant says “nobody asked me any questions about my life” (line 19). This could be coded simply as “health care professionals’ consultation skills”, but that would not reflect how the participant must have felt never to be asked anything about his or her personal life, about the participant as a human being. At the end of this excerpt, the participant just trails off, recalling that no-one showed any interest, which makes for very moving reading. For practitioners in pharmacy, it might also be pertinent to explore the participant’s experience of akathisia and why this was left untreated for 20 years.

One of the questions that arises about qualitative research relates to the reliability of the interpretation and representation of the participants’ narratives. There are no statistical tests that can be used to check reliability and validity as there are in quantitative research. However, work by Lincoln and Guba 11 suggests that there are other ways to “establish confidence in the ‘truth’ of the findings” (p. 218). They call this confidence “trustworthiness” and suggest that there are 4 criteria of trustworthiness: credibility (confidence in the “truth” of the findings), transferability (showing that the findings have applicability in other contexts), dependability (showing that the findings are consistent and could be repeated), and confirmability (the extent to which the findings of a study are shaped by the respondents and not researcher bias, motivation, or interest).

One way of establishing the “credibility” of the coding is to ask another researcher to code the same transcript and then to discuss any similarities and differences in the 2 resulting sets of codes. This simple act can result in revisions to the codes and can help to clarify and confirm the research findings.

Theming refers to the drawing together of codes from one or more transcripts to present the findings of qualitative research in a coherent and meaningful way. For example, there may be examples across participants’ narratives of the way in which they were treated in hospital, such as “not being listened to” or “lack of interest in personal experiences” (see Appendix 1 ). These may be drawn together as a theme running through the narratives that could be named “the patient’s experience of hospital care”. The importance of going through this process is that at its conclusion, it will be possible to present the data from the interviews using quotations from the individual transcripts to illustrate the source of the researchers’ interpretations. Thus, when the findings are organized for presentation, each theme can become the heading of a section in the report or presentation. Underneath each theme will be the codes, examples from the transcripts, and the researcher’s own interpretation of what the themes mean. Implications for real life (e.g., the treatment of people with chronic mental health problems) should also be given.


In this final section of this paper, we describe some ways of drawing together or “synthesizing” research findings to represent, as faithfully as possible, the meaning that participants ascribe to their life experiences. This synthesis is the aim of the final stage of qualitative research. For most readers, the synthesis of data presented by the researcher is of crucial significance—this is usually where “the story” of the participants can be distilled, summarized, and told in a manner that is both respectful to those participants and meaningful to readers. There are a number of ways in which researchers can synthesize and present their findings, but any conclusions drawn by the researchers must be supported by direct quotations from the participants. In this way, it is made clear to the reader that the themes under discussion have emerged from the participants’ interviews and not the mind of the researcher. The work of Latif and others 12 gives an example of how qualitative research findings might be presented.

Planning and Writing the Report

As has been suggested above, if researchers code and theme their material appropriately, they will naturally find the headings for sections of their report. Qualitative researchers tend to report “findings” rather than “results”, as the latter term typically implies that the data have come from a quantitative source. The final presentation of the research will usually be in the form of a report or a paper and so should follow accepted academic guidelines. In particular, the article should begin with an introduction, including a literature review and rationale for the research. There should be a section on the chosen methodology and a brief discussion about why qualitative methodology was most appropriate for the study question and why one particular methodology (e.g., interpretative phenomenological analysis rather than grounded theory) was selected to guide the research. The method itself should then be described, including ethics approval, choice of participants, mode of recruitment, and method of data collection (e.g., semistructured interviews or focus groups), followed by the research findings, which will be the main body of the report or paper. The findings should be written as if a story is being told; as such, it is not necessary to have a lengthy discussion section at the end. This is because much of the discussion will take place around the participants’ quotes, such that all that is needed to close the report or paper is a summary, limitations of the research, and the implications that the research has for practice. As stated earlier, it is not the intention of qualitative research to allow the findings to be generalized, and therefore this is not, in itself, a limitation.

Planning out the way that findings are to be presented is helpful. It is useful to insert the headings of the sections (the themes) and then make a note of the codes that exemplify the thoughts and feelings of your participants. It is generally advisable to put in the quotations that you want to use for each theme, using each quotation only once. After all this is done, the telling of the story can begin as you give your voice to the experiences of the participants, writing around their quotations. Do not be afraid to draw assumptions from the participants’ narratives, as this is necessary to give an in-depth account of the phenomena in question. Discuss these assumptions, drawing on your participants’ words to support you as you move from one code to another and from one theme to the next. Finally, as appropriate, it is possible to include examples from literature or policy documents that add support for your findings. As an exercise, you may wish to code and theme the sample excerpt in Appendix 1 and tell the participant’s story in your own way. Further reading about “doing” qualitative research can be found at the end of this paper.


Qualitative research can help researchers to access the thoughts and feelings of research participants, which can enable development of an understanding of the meaning that people ascribe to their experiences. It can be used in pharmacy practice research to explore how patients feel about their health and their treatment. Qualitative research has been used by pharmacists to explore a variety of questions and problems (see the “Further Reading” section for examples). An understanding of these issues can help pharmacists and other health care professionals to tailor health care to match the individual needs of patients and to develop a concordant relationship. Doing qualitative research is not easy and may require a complete rethink of how research is conducted, particularly for researchers who are more familiar with quantitative approaches. There are many ways of conducting qualitative research, and this paper has covered some of the practical issues regarding data collection, analysis, and management. Further reading around the subject will be essential to truly understand this method of accessing peoples’ thoughts and feelings to enable researchers to tell participants’ stories.

Appendix 1. Excerpt from a sample transcript

The participant (age late 50s) had suffered from a chronic mental health illness for 30 years. The participant had become a “revolving door patient,” someone who is frequently in and out of hospital. As the participant talked about past experiences, the researcher asked:

  • What was treatment like 30 years ago?
  • Umm—well it was pretty much they could do what they wanted with you because I was put into the er, the er kind of system er, I was just on
  • endless section threes.
  • Really…
  • But what I didn’t realize until later was that if you haven’t actually posed a threat to someone or yourself they can’t really do that but I didn’t know
  • that. So wh-when I first went into hospital they put me on the forensic ward ’cause they said, “We don’t think you’ll stay here we think you’ll just
  • run-run away.” So they put me then onto the acute admissions ward and – er – I can remember one of the first things I recall when I got onto that
  • ward was sitting down with a er a Dr XXX. He had a book this thick [gestures] and on each page it was like three questions and he went through
  • all these questions and I answered all these questions. So we’re there for I don’t maybe two hours doing all that and he asked me he said “well
  • when did somebody tell you then that you have schizophrenia” I said “well nobody’s told me that” so he seemed very surprised but nobody had
  • actually [pause] whe-when I first went up there under police escort erm the senior kind of consultants people I’d been to where I was staying and
  • ermm so er [pause] I . . . the, I can remember the very first night that I was there and given this injection in this muscle here [gestures] and just
  • having dreadful side effects the next day I woke up [pause]
  • . . . and I suffered that akathesia I swear to you, every minute of every day for about 20 years.
  • Oh how awful.
  • And that side of it just makes life impossible so the care on the wards [pause] umm I don’t know it’s kind of, it’s kind of hard to put into words
  • [pause]. Because I’m not saying they were sort of like not friendly or interested but then nobody ever seemed to want to talk about your life [pause]
  • nobody asked me any questions about my life. The only questions that came into was they asked me if I’d be a volunteer for these student exams
  • and things and I said “yeah” so all the questions were like “oh what jobs have you done,” er about your relationships and things and er but
  • nobody actually sat down and had a talk and showed some interest in you as a person you were just there basically [pause] um labelled and you
  • know there was there was [pause] but umm [pause] yeah . . .

This article is the 10th in the CJHP Research Primer Series, an initiative of the CJHP Editorial Board and the CSHP Research Committee. The planned 2-year series is intended to appeal to relatively inexperienced researchers, with the goal of building research capacity among practising pharmacists. The articles, presenting simple but rigorous guidance to encourage and support novice researchers, are being solicited from authors with appropriate expertise.

Previous articles in this series:

Bond CM. The research jigsaw: how to get started. Can J Hosp Pharm . 2014;67(1):28–30.

Tully MP. Research: articulating questions, generating hypotheses, and choosing study designs. Can J Hosp Pharm . 2014;67(1):31–4.

Loewen P. Ethical issues in pharmacy practice research: an introductory guide. Can J Hosp Pharm. 2014;67(2):133–7.

Tsuyuki RT. Designing pharmacy practice research trials. Can J Hosp Pharm . 2014;67(3):226–9.

Bresee LC. An introduction to developing surveys for pharmacy practice research. Can J Hosp Pharm . 2014;67(4):286–91.

Gamble JM. An introduction to the fundamentals of cohort and case–control studies. Can J Hosp Pharm . 2014;67(5):366–72.

Austin Z, Sutton J. Qualitative research: getting started. C an J Hosp Pharm . 2014;67(6):436–40.

Houle S. An introduction to the fundamentals of randomized controlled trials in pharmacy research. Can J Hosp Pharm . 2014; 68(1):28–32.

Charrois TL. Systematic reviews: What do you need to know to get started? Can J Hosp Pharm . 2014;68(2):144–8.

Competing interests: None declared.

Further Reading

Examples of qualitative research in pharmacy practice.

  • Farrell B, Pottie K, Woodend K, Yao V, Dolovich L, Kennie N, et al. Shifts in expectations: evaluating physicians’ perceptions as pharmacists integrated into family practice. J Interprof Care. 2010; 24 (1):80–9. [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Gregory P, Austin Z. Postgraduation employment experiences of new pharmacists in Ontario in 2012–2013. Can Pharm J. 2014; 147 (5):290–9. [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Marks PZ, Jennnings B, Farrell B, Kennie-Kaulbach N, Jorgenson D, Pearson-Sharpe J, et al. “I gained a skill and a change in attitude”: a case study describing how an online continuing professional education course for pharmacists supported achievement of its transfer to practice outcomes. Can J Univ Contin Educ. 2014; 40 (2):1–18. [ Google Scholar ]
  • Nair KM, Dolovich L, Brazil K, Raina P. It’s all about relationships: a qualitative study of health researchers’ perspectives on interdisciplinary research. BMC Health Serv Res. 2008; 8 :110. [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Pojskic N, MacKeigan L, Boon H, Austin Z. Initial perceptions of key stakeholders in Ontario regarding independent prescriptive authority for pharmacists. Res Soc Adm Pharm. 2014; 10 (2):341–54. [ PubMed ] [ Google Scholar ]

Qualitative Research in General

  • Breakwell GM, Hammond S, Fife-Schaw C. Research methods in psychology. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 1995. [ Google Scholar ]
  • Given LM. 100 questions (and answers) about qualitative research. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2015. [ Google Scholar ]
  • Miles B, Huberman AM. Qualitative data analysis. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2009. [ Google Scholar ]
  • Patton M. Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2002. [ Google Scholar ]
  • Willig C. Introducing qualitative research in psychology. Buckingham (UK): Open University Press; 2001. [ Google Scholar ]

Group Dynamics in Focus Groups

  • Farnsworth J, Boon B. Analysing group dynamics within the focus group. Qual Res. 2010; 10 (5):605–24. [ Google Scholar ]

Social Constructivism

  • Social constructivism. Berkeley (CA): University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley Graduate Division, Graduate Student Instruction Teaching & Resource Center; [cited 2015 June 4]. Available from: [ Google Scholar ]

Mixed Methods

  • Creswell J. Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2009. [ Google Scholar ]

Collecting Qualitative Data

  • Arksey H, Knight P. Interviewing for social scientists: an introductory resource with examples. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 1999. [ Google Scholar ]
  • Guest G, Namey EE, Mitchel ML. Collecting qualitative data: a field manual for applied research. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2013. [ Google Scholar ]

Constructivist Grounded Theory

  • Charmaz K. Grounded theory: objectivist and constructivist methods. In: Denzin N, Lincoln Y, editors. Handbook of qualitative research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage Publications; 2000. pp. 509–35. [ Google Scholar ]

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    Overview. Data analysis is an ongoing process that should occur throughout your research project. Suitable data-analysis methods must be selected when you write your research proposal. The nature of your data (i.e. quantitative or qualitative) will be influenced by your research design and purpose. The data will also influence the analysis ...

  17. Improving Qualitative Research Findings Presentations:

    The qualitative research findings presentation, as a distinct genre, conventionally shares particular facets of genre entwined and contextualized in method and scholarly discourse. Despite the commonality and centrality of these presentations, little is known of the quality of current presentations of qualitative research findings.

  18. Importance of Data Collection and Analysis Methods

    Data validation is a streamlined process that ensures the quality and accuracy of collected data. Inaccurate data may keep a researcher from uncovering important discoveries or lead to spurious results. At times, the amount of data collected might help unravel existing patterns that are important. The data validation process can also provide a ...


    DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION. 4.0 Introduction. This chapter is concerned with data pres entation, of the findings obtained through the study. The. findings are presented in ...

  20. Research Guide: Data analysis and reporting findings

    Data analysis is the most crucial part of any research. Data analysis summarizes collected data. It involves the interpretation of data gathered through the use of analytical and logical reasoning to determine patterns, relationships or trends. ... A clear and concise presentation on the 'now what' and 'so what' of data collection and ...

  21. Data analysis and presentation

    Data analysis and presentation. ... It should be noted that the handling of missing data in analysis is an ongoing topic of research. ... Standard errors, confidence intervals and/or coefficients of variation provide the reader important information about data quality. The choice of indicator may vary depending on where the article is published.


    Data is the basis of information, reasoning, or calcul ation, it is analysed to obtain. information. Data analysis is a process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and data. modeling with the ...

  23. Mobile Fact Sheet

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  24. Writing Survey Questions

    Perhaps the most important part of the survey process is the creation of questions that accurately measure the opinions, experiences and behaviors of the ... The Center adopted several strategies for coping with changes to data trends that may be related to this change in methodology. If there is evidence suggesting that a change in a trend ...

  25. Latest science news, discoveries and analysis

    Find breaking science news and analysis from the world's leading research journal.

  26. A systematic literature review of Auditing Practices research landscape

    The bibliometric analysis used to discover five principal thematic clusters in auditing practice research. The themes that are extensively referenced include the legitimacy of audits, their function, archival auditing, the proliferation of audits, audit technologies, and the analysis of big data.

  27. Methods of Data Collection, Representation, and Analysis

    This chapter concerns research on collecting, representing, and analyzing the data that underlie behavioral and social sciences knowledge. Such research, methodological in character, includes ethnographic and historical approaches, scaling, axiomatic measurement, and statistics, with its important relatives, econometrics and psychometrics. The field can be described as including the self ...

  28. What the data says about Americans' views of climate change

    ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.

  29. Qualitative Research: Data Collection, Analysis, and Management

    Doing qualitative research is not easy and may require a complete rethink of how research is conducted, particularly for researchers who are more familiar with quantitative approaches. There are many ways of conducting qualitative research, and this paper has covered some of the practical issues regarding data collection, analysis, and management.

  30. Public Health Data Applications Using the CDC Tracking Network

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