Data analysis is the process of evaluating data using the logical and analytical reasoning to carefully examine each component of the data collected or provided. Also is one of the many steps that are taken when a research experiment is conducted.
Data is gathered from various sources related to your research topic. Once the data is collected, it is then reviewed and analyzed to get to a conclusion or form some sort of finding.
In terms of business, data analysis plays a major role when it comes to making decisions that involve some sort of risk or uncertainty. The data gathered and then reviewed to help decision makers mitigate the risk for a certain decision.
Methods of Data Analysis:
There are a variety of methods for these types of analysis, but all of them fall under two main methods that are Qualitative Analysis and Quantitative Analysis. Let’s have a look at both of them below:
Qualitative Data Analysis:
The data obtained through this method consists of words, pictures, symbols and observations. This type of analysis refers to the procedures and processes that are utilized for the analysis of data to provide some level of understanding, explanation or interpretation.
Unlike the quantitative analysis, no statistical approaches are used to collect and analyze this data. There are a variety of approaches to collecting this type of data and interpreting it. Some of the most commonly used methods are:
- Content Analysis: It is used to analyze verbal or behavioral data. This data can consist of documents or communication artifacts like texts in various formats, pictures or audios/videos.
- Narrative Analysis: This one is the most commonly used as it involves analyzing data that comes from a variety of sources including field notes, surveys, diaries, interviews and other written forms. It involves reformulating the stories given by people based on their experiences and in different contexts.
- Grounded Theory: This method involves the development of causal explanations of a single phenomenon from the study of one or more cases. If further cases are studied, then the explanations are altered until the researchers arrive at a statement that fits all of the cases.
There are more methods of Qualitative Analysis like Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis, but the above-mentioned ones are the most common methods.
Quantitative Data Analysis:
As the name suggests, the quantitative analysis is used for the quantification of data which allows the generalization of the results obtained from a sample to a population of interest.
Simply put, statistical methods of data analysis are used to collect raw data and transform it into numerical data. Some of the methods that fall under that Quantitative Analysis are:
- Mean: Also known as the average, Mean is the most basic method of analyzing data where the sum of a numbers’ list is divided by the number of items on that list. It is useful in determining the overall trend of something.
- Hypothesis Testing: Majorly used in business research and is done to assess if a certain theory or hypothesis for a population or data set is true.
- Sample Size Determination: When doing research on a large population like workforce for your company, small sample size is taken and then analyzed, and the results are considered almost same for every member of the population.
There are many more methods of data collection in Quantitative analysis like regression, standard deviation, and mode and so on but these are a few common ones.