This week we published Versta Research’s quarterly newsletter with a feature article entitled “How to Design an Excellent Chart.” It addresses one critical piece of turning research data into compelling stories by focusing on the process of data visualization. For us, that process involves five steps:
Posts Tagged ‘statistics’
I was the kid who skipped recess to help grade quizzes; the graduate student who delayed getting a degree because it meant the end of school; the professor who told students that he was now in the 33rd grade and still loved school.
Even now I can’t resist reviewing great opportunities for more coursework and learning that can help Versta and its clients do smarter work.
A number of top universities offer condensed summer coursework and seminars on topics critical to market research. Knowledge and innovation in these areas advance quickly, so staying on top of this learning is essential. Here are some that we highly recommend: (more…)
Who says that Olympic sports are the only way to bring nations and people together? In 2013, statistics will unite the world as governments, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations from 111 countries around the world work together via global seminars, conferences, and educational activities to celebrate and promote statistics.
The International Year of Statistics is the brainchild of the several national and international academic statistical groups. More than 1,400 organizations have signed on to offer programming and events that highlight the importance of statistics to their missions and publics. These organizations include the top universities in the United States, companies like Intel, SAS, and Pfizer, government agencies like the Census Bureau, the National Institutes of Health, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics—to name just a few. Versta Research has also joined as a participating organization. We plan to contribute via multiple training activities, and to offer related presentations to students and professional audiences during the year.
The goals of Statistics 2013 are to: (more…)
I have never been a media poll watcher or politics junkie who tracks every new poll saying which candidate is favored to win. It is hard to see the point of spending so much time and money predicting the outcome of an event that will be known with certainty within a matter of days, weeks, or months. But elections are an amazing way to see survey research methods in action, and there are few opportunities to have those methods validated so quickly, accurately, and unforgivingly than political polling.
What did we learn from the polls this election season? (more…)
What IS a credibility interval, you ask? It is a term making its way into mainstream market research just as Bayesian statistics are making their way into market research. A credibility interval provides a range of values, calculated using Bayesian statistical techniques, within which a statistical estimate is likely to fall. It is analogous to a confidence interval, which is the traditional and commonly used measure of sampling error in survey research and statistical estimation.
As with a confidence interval, a credibility interval can be a legitimate, compelling, and mathematically rigorous way of expressing the certainty of statistical estimates. Unfortunately it is being used in the same sloppy, inappropriate, and misleading ways that confidence interval and “margins of error” are being used. (more…)
By elephants, we mean Republicans. Or maybe you have too many Democrats. Maybe it keeps going back and forth, which is the problem that Gallup sometimes has. In the spirit of learning all we can from election season polling, this week we focus on whom to include (or exclude) in your research, analysis, and market projections.
The issue is showcased right now as political polls attempt to measure voter preference and predict the election outcome. Is voter preference really as volatile and open to persuasion as the polls sometimes suggest? Probably not. A 2004 research article in Public Opinion Quarterly carefully documented that much of the volatility in Gallup’s polls results from how they screen respondents and weight their data. (more…)
The first lesson I learned in one of my graduate-level research methods class was surprising and simple: You need variation in your data if you want to do statistical analysis. In other words, you cannot identify the causes, predictors, or so-called “drivers” of an outcome unless you have a whole variety of different outcomes in the data and a whole variety of differences among the predictors as well.
This lesson came to mind recently as we were analyzing multiple customer databases for a company that wants to understand how it can do a better job converting prospects into purchasers. Half way into the work we realized that the databases were strangely incomplete. As it turns out, the marketing and sales people regularly scrubbed the database to keep it clean and easy to work with. They were deleting old prospects who never purchased, which made it easier for them to focus their marketing efforts.
Every ten years the Census Bureau provides a count of all people living in the United States. More importantly, the Census Bureau and other agencies conduct ongoing surveys of the population to document crucial facts and figures about who we are.
And every year, it seems, these agencies come under attack from politicians who would like to do away with all public goods. This year it is the American Community Survey that is under attack, as described in this article from The Wall Street Journal. Prominent professional and business groups (including AAPOR, The American Association of Public Opinion Research, of which we are members) of all political and non-political persuasions are working to fend off the attack.
Here are two reasons why you and your company should aggressively support our efforts to protect the Bureau’s data collection efforts: (more…)
Summer provides an ideal opportunity to learn from our research colleagues in the academic worlds. Many of them offer short, intensive “summer camp” training that is relevant and practical for market researchers. You get training that is far more rigorous and comprehensive than courses offered by “training institutes” and other commercial providers.
Here are our top picks for brief summer courses that will keep you and your colleagues at the cutting edge of research methods:
Exploratory Data Mining, offered at the University of California in Davis by the American Psychological Association — a five-day course that will cover the conceptual bases and strategies of exploratory data mining, and will review leading current techniques and software.
Social Network Analysis, offered by the University of Buffalo’s Department of Sociology — a three-day class that will teach theoretical and methodological skills to conduct studies using social network analysis. The course will focus on different network theories, their corresponding measures, and how to get the data to conduct a study. (more…)