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Step 6: Creating the Initial Report

OK, now you’ve completed the data analysis for your project. The next step is to compile all your results into an initial report. This is typically a rough, "non-pretty" report that is not intended for publication or distribution; rather, it is largely for you to compile all of your data, organize it in a logical way, and start thinking about how you will utilize the data. We will discuss how to utilize and communicate your data in much more detail in the Data Utilization section. For now, you just need an initial report to work from. We will discuss:

Making the Initial Report

Making the initial report should be relatively simple; you don’t need a lot of time for this step if you’ve done a lot of the work already. Plus, because this report is mainly for internal use, you don’t need to worry too much about formatting, wording, and displaying the data. It just needs to make sense to you so you can understand it and use it later on.

If you have used a statistical package for your analysis, your initial report could just be the tables or statistical printouts from your program. If you used Microsoft® Excel or a simple spreadsheet program, your initial report could be the worksheet pages of data and initial charts and tables.

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How to Use the Initial Report

Once you have your initial data report, take some time to look over everything that you’ve compiled.

  • Did you find what you expected to find?
  • Are there certain findings that jump out at you or are particularly interesting?
  • What are your initial interpretations for the data?
  • What might the data mean to researchers, clinicians, or practitioners?
  • What do you think the overall message of your findings should be?
  • And finally, which data are most important in demonstrating this overall message?

All of these questions should be asked to help you sort through and understand your results and better utilize them later.

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Get Outsider Feedback

Another good suggestion is to make sure you get some outsider feedback on your initial report. Again, because your report is in a very rough-draft form, this is not intended for most audiences; but you may be able to show it to a colleague, a supervisor, and assistant, or someone else who understands your subject area and can give his or her impressions of the results.

You may also want to consider sending the initial report to a statistician or other analyst who can give their thoughts. NEDARC has several statisticians on staff who would be happy to look over any initial report you may have created and provide feedback to you.

Now you are ready to move on to Utilizing Data!

 

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rev. 29-Aug-2016

 

 

 

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