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Step 4: Plan Your Analysis

Planning your analysis is a critical step in any data analysis project.

In fact, this concept is so important that this section really doesn’t even belong here; analysis planning should occur at the beginning of your project and should guide many decisions you make as you go along. Otherwise, how would you have know what data to collect? How do you know what you want to do unless you know what kinds of data you want back? These are all good reasons to do your analysis planning early and often.

What to do now

So let’s assume that you have been a "good" researcher up to this point and have been carefully planning your analysis from the very beginning. Now is the time to ramp up your planning before the big plunge.

Because the statistical world can be a bit finicky as to how you go about your analysis and what order you do the steps in, there are many final decisions that need to be made before you actually begin the analysis process. (And for all you "not-so-good" researchers out there, now’s the time to really get planning, assuming it’s not too late).

For instance, now is a good time to review your existing objectives and analysis plans.

  • Would you say they are still the right approach, or do you need to make some adjustments?
  • Do you need to change your variables of interest at all?
  • Do you need to explore different statistical techniques than the ones you initially thought of?

Often, in the course of a research project, new discoveries are made and mistakes are realized as you become more familiar with your particular research area.

Get feedback

If you have not yet done so, this is an important time to consult with a statistician, data analyst, mentor, or anyone else you have access to that can give you feedback and ideas for your analysis. Remember, NEDARC is always here to help as well!

Let’s start analyzing!

Congratulations!  Ready for the next step?
Step 5: Do Your Analysis >>

 

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rev. 29-Aug-2016

 

 

 

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