Practical Principles for Data Analysis Design
The data revolution has led to an increased interest in the practice of data analysis. While much has been written about statistical thinking, a complementary form of thinking that appears in the practice of data analysis is design thinking – the problem-solving process to understand the people for whom a product is being designed. For a given problem, there can be significant or subtle differences in how a data analyst (or producer of a data analysis) constructs, creates, or designs a data analysis, including differences in the choice of methods, tooling, and workflow. These choices can affect the data analysis products themselves and the experience of the consumer of the data analysis. Therefore, the role of a producer can be thought of as designing the data analysis with a set of design principles. This talk will introduce six design principles for data analysis and describe how they can be mapped to data analyses in a quantitative and informative manner. We also provide empirical evidence of variation of these principles within and between producers of data analyses. This will hopefully provide guidance for future work in characterizing the data analytic process.