Analyze Data

Analyze & Interpret Data

Any kind of data analysis often involves comparing data from different times and places to both look for patterns and identify where those patterns vary. When researchers are analyzing data, they typically consider measurement averages and extreme values to determine how observed phenomenon differ from place to place. When you're analyzing your data, you should:

  • Think about the easiest ways to visualize your observations in the assembled data. These visualizations can include maps, graphs, or tables. 
    • Tip: Maps are often more useful for looking at spatial patterns while graphs are better for determining patterns over time.
  • Determine if you need to do any calculations as part of your analysis. If you need to perform calculations on a large amount of data and have access to a spreadsheet program, consider using that program to make your calculations easier and faster. These programs also usually have the ability to graph and chart your results as well.
  • Create tables, graphs, and/or charts to illustrate and summarize your discoveries. The data analysis step of the scientific process should be focused on using your gathered data to answer your stated research question(s) in a succinct way.
  • Figure out if your results answer your research question(s). Is your hypothesis confirmed or disproved? Remember, even if your results disprove your original hypothesis, this is still a valuable conclusion for future work.
  • Determine if you can you clearly state your reasoning and explain it to someone else. If you can't answer your question(s) with your collected data and analysis, do you think you should collect more data, do a different type of analysis, or revise your original questions? 
    • Tip: At this point of your research, teacher's or mentors are valuable resources that can provide helpful feedback and point you in the right direction.