This is part of a series on Strategic Data Analysis.
Strategic Data Analysis (Part 1) ← You are here?
Strategic Data Analysis for Descriptive Questions (Part 2) ← Coming soon!
Strategic Data Analysis for Diagnostic Questions (Part 3) ← Coming soon!
Strategic Data Analysis for Predictive Questions (Part 4) ← Coming soon!
Strategic Data Analysis for Prescriptive Questions (Part 5) ← Coming soon!
In my 10 years of tenure in working with data in any capacity, I’ve noticed how much focus there is in learning quantitative techniques in order to do data analysis. I have spent thousands of hours perfecting my knowledge of everything from statistics to machine learning to economics and beyond. However, I found very little guidance in the strategic approach to answering business questions by using data analysis. I have also encountered many junior analysts who frequently mistake data analysis for its quantitative techniques, disregarding the fact that analysis is a powerful way of thinking and a great problem solving tool — i.e. data analysis is not just a product of its methods.
In this multi-part series, I hope to do a data analysis primer that will provide a structured approach to using analysis in order to answer business questions. In Part 1, I will introduce data analysis and the four types of questions that it can help answer. This can be used as guidance for identifying analysis questions correctly. In the following posts, I will propose a strategy for answering each type of question and a methodology for selecting the correct techniques. I hope you find this guide useful — let me know in the comments!
So what is data analysis and what is it trying to achieve? In general, analysis is a process of understanding some complex information by breaking it down into smaller and simpler pieces and understanding those pieces first. This process is used to help solve problems or answer questions. As in the general case, data analysis is a process of understanding something about complex data by trying to understand more manageable information about it.
Analysts can perform an array of techniques in order to do data analysis. For instance, if we…