Analyze Data

Students use a calculator to analyze their dataIn studying Earth, data analysis often involves comparing data from different times and places and looking for patterns and different types of variations. Averages and extreme values are often useful to consider along with comparisons of how data from two different measurements vary.

  • Think about what are the easiest ways to see what you are looking for in the data you have assembled – maps, graphs, tables? If you are looking for spatial patterns, maps are useful. If you are looking for patterns over time for one place, a graph works well.
  • Do you need to do any calculations as part of your analysis? Remember you can use spreadsheet programs if you have access to them.  They can make it easier to do calculations on large amounts of data and generally provide the ability to graph data and results.
  • Analyze your data and create tables, graphs, and charts to illustrate and summarize your discoveries.  Analysis should be focused on using the data to answer your stated research question(s).
  • Can you answer your research questions from your data? Is your hypothesis confirmed or disproved? Remember that either result is valuable. Can you clearly state your reasoning and explain it to someone else? If you can't answer your question(s) with the data you have collected and the analysis you have performed, can you collect more data, do a different type of analysis, or revise your original questions?  This is a point in your research project where talking to your teacher or mentor can help.


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