Data Analysis: Purpose & Steps

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  • 0:03 What Is Data Analysis?
  • 0:47 Organizing and…
  • 2:06 Interpreting Data
  • 2:54 Data Analysis Steps
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cory Haley
In this lesson, the student will learn what is data analysis, the purpose of data analysis, and the steps to conduct a data analysis. Also in this lesson, the student will learn how to organize, interpret, and represent data.

What Is Data Analysis?

Have you thought about how many red fruit loops are in a box of Fruit Loop cereal or how many green peanut M&Ms are in pack of peanut M&Ms? Well, all of your questions can be asked by conducting a data analysis! What is a data analysis? Data analysis is a process of applying statistical practices to organize, represent, describe, evaluate, and interpret data. What is data? Data is a set of qualitative and quantitative variables. For example, the number of red fruit loops and green M&Ms are examples of quantitative data because we are analyzing a number associated with the Fruit Loops and M&Ms.

Organizing and Representing Data

Organizing data is a critical component of conducting a data analysis. The organization of data takes place in the early stages of the data analysis. For example, let's look at the M&M's bar graph which is one way to visually represent a data set.

In this bar graph, we are able to organize the data in six different categories. The categories are the colors, which are red, blue, green, yellow, brown, and orange. The next step within organizing data is to assign a quantitative value (number) or qualitative value (words) to the data set.

A qualitative study is a method in which the researcher is able to study things within its context. An example would be a case study on the effect extracurricular activities have on high school students. A quantitative study is a method in which the researcher is able to employ mathematical practices. For example, let's review the M&M's bar graph. With this example, we will use numbers to represent the quantity. Here are the totals for the M&M's by colors.

M&M Frequency Table
Red 30
Blue 15
Green 40
Yellow 20
Brown 35
Orange 25

After our data has been organized and visually represented, we can move forward in the data analysis by interpreting the data set.

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