Why is Data Analysis Important? by sJq1Gt5I


									        Why is Data Analysis Important?

• Shorthand for describing our
• Quick and easy method for:
  – Measuring change and the impact
    of change
  – Test theories, models and other
  – Microscope for identifying unique
    groups and underserved
• To do good…Make positive
  things happen
Why is Data Analysis Important to

•   Needs Analysis
•   Program Planning
•   Program Evaluation
•   Grant Applications
•   State/Federal Requirements
•   To do good…Make positive things
What Analysis Data Cannot Do
               Data analysis cannot:
                 – Make decisions
                 – Answer all your
                 – Represent everyone
                   or everything
                 – Provide passion for
                   an issue
              Where to Begin?
           “Oh Data Where Art Thou?”
       Primary Data         Secondary Data
    (Data you collect)    (Data others collect)
•   Client reports       • U.S. Census Bureau
•   Surveys              • PA. Dept. Health
•   Focus groups         • School districts
•   Financial records    • Etc…etc….etc…
•   Etc..etc…etc…
• One stop shop for most
  Census data
• Able to compare
  different geographies
• Easy to use data
  download features

• Replaces the Census Bureau’s “Long Form”
• Available annually for Schuylkill and all counties
  with more than 65,000 residents.
• Available at municipal level every five years
  starting in December 2010
 What Data Source Should I Use?

• Don’t let the data          Selection Criteria
                              Does the data include:
  define the problem
                        •   Target population
                        •   Geographic relevancy
• No one data source    •   Time: historic & current
  has all the answers   •   Descriptive indicators
                        •   Usable format
                        •   Methodological
• Data always has           legitimacy/creditability
         Data Manipulation 101

         Simple                 Complex
      (Descriptive)           (Explanatory)
•   Mean                •   ANOVA
•   Median              •   Correlations
•   Percent of total    •   Chi Squares
•   Percent change      •   Regression
•   Cross-tabulations       models
•   Per Capita
Data Manipulation Tips…
           • Do not ignore definitions or
             data collection methods
           • Always understand who is
             being measured
           • Use statistical methods
             you understand and can
           • Be consistent in your
           • Cheek for mistakes
           • Check for mistakes
                     Tips for Data Analysis

                                              For Income, Use
Focus on central
                                                the median

                                              Adjusted dollars
                                                for inflation
 possible, report
  multi-years of
       data                                      Check &
                                                recheck for
 Show regional,
state, or national
  comparisons                                 Use per-capita

 Clearly report                                   Report
data limitations                                percentages
    & bias
 Data Tips For Working with Small
• Use per capita; per
  1,000; per
  100,000… ratios
• Combine multi-years
  of data
• Develop a profile of
  the “average” client
  or household
       How can Ringtown Borough have a crime
      rate of 2,625 per 100,000 resident when the
           Borough’s population is only 762?
                                                    Type of                    Reported
                                                    Crime                      Offenses
                                                    Larceny-Theft              2
                                                    Vandalism                  2
                                                    All Other (Except traffic) 16
                                                    Total                      20
                                                     20 offenses / 762 pop. = 0.02625
                                                        0.02625 x 100,000 = 2,625

      Schuylkill County, 10,513 reported offenses: rate of       7,139 per 100,000 pop.
      Statewide, 1,007,659 reported offenses: rate of            8,095 per 100,000 pop.
Data source: U.S. Census Bureau & PA State Police
Tips for Identifying Trends
                 • For most indicators
                   change is slow and
                 • Many trends are deeply
                   rooted within demographic
                   and economic changes
                   (symptoms vs. causes)
                 • Its easier to identify trends
                   once they’re over than in
                   the middle
                 • Small populations can
                   fluctuate wildly year-to-
• Support your arguments with          Tips for
  factual statements                Reporting Data
• Do not torture or romanticize
• Keep issues in context by
  discussing relationships and
• Don’t be an alarmist or an
• Graphs, tables and maps can
  be useful– as long as they
  are intuitive or explained
• Apply the K.I.S.S. principle to
  graphs, tables, and maps
More Tips…                     Word/Data Ratio
                             Every paragraph you
      Less is More         write will require 30 to 60
 Too many numbers on a     minutes of data crunching
 page may cause reader
  to have blurred vision
    and/or drowsiness

                             Data Cruncher’s
                           Remember that numbers
                            represent real people
                               with real needs!
     Exercise: Can You Explain?
1.   Nearly 18 percent Schuylkill County adults (age 25+) do not have a
     high school diploma. Does this mean the county schools have a
     high dropout rate?
2.   In 2008, why was the average household income in Schuylkill
     County more than $8,500 higher than the median household
3.   In January 2010, Schuylkill County had an unemployment rate of
     10.7 percent. The statewide rate was 8.8 percent. Does this mean
     Schuylkill County has the state’s highest unemployment rate?
4.   In 2008, Schuylkill County had a child poverty rate (<18 years old) of
     16 percent. The same year, 37 percent county’s public school
     children were eligible for the Free & Reduced School Lunch
     Program. Why the gap?
5.   From 2000-08, the number of African Americans increased nearly 40
     percent, while the number of Whites declined 3 percent. In 2018 will
     Schuylkill County whites become a racial minority?

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