Numbers don't lie but their interpretation and representation can be misleading. Spin has been defined as a specific intentional or … Authors have broad latitude when writing their reports and may be tempted to consciously or unconsciously “spin” their study findings. Publication in peer-reviewed journals is an essential step in the scientific process. “I like data because it helps me win arguments” – Never has a phrase better revealed someone who doesn’t get value from data — Andrew Anderson (@antfoodz) January 6, 2015 The proliferation of new data-hungry apps, auto-play videos on social channels and the availability of super-fast 4G LTE networks have had a direct impact on the amount of data consumers use. Comment and share: Top 5 biases to avoid in data science By Tom Merritt. OUTLIERS If you’re attempting to create a predictive model based off of your data, outliers can significantly skew the results leading to an unrealistic picture of what you should expect to achieve in the future. By using the standard model for visual models, you can avoid misleading your reader. 7 common biases of Big Data analysis. A popular quote on the subject says: If you torture the data long enough, it will confess. Here I show how to avoid misinterpretation and how to best proceed with answering the recent debate about sexual dimorphism in digit ratio, a trait that is thought to reflect sex-hormone levels during development. There are essentially seven common biases when it comes to big data results, especially those in risk management. The best course of action with Simpson’s paradox (and, in fact, with any statistical data), is to use the information to refer back to the story of the data. Asking “why” repeatedly before you settle on an answer is a powerful way to avoid … By obscuring data or taking only the data points that reinforce a particular theory, scientists are indulging in unethical behavior. Ethics in statistics are very important during data representation as well. Follow Convention. Data without facts gives you a two-dimensional, black-and-white view of the world. There are other things that can cause data to be misinterpreted if you’re not aware of and work to avoid them. There are three components required to make an expert business decision based on data : Statistical knowledge/ Quantitative aptitude Domain Knowledge Business Context To make data driven decisions using a mathematical approach, it is important to have a perfect blend of all the above factors. However, publication is not simply the reporting of facts arising from a straightforward analysis thereof. Even in the hands of someone benevolent, data can be misinterpreted in dangerous ways. – Ronald Coase, Economist. How to Avoid The Pitfalls of Misleading Data. If you want your data to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, implement these practices to make sure you avoid misleading data visualization. Someone who wants to win an argument using data can usually do so. Or when people force fit data to what they already believe. I personally disagree with the quote and firmly believe the other way “If you slice and dice the data in unbiased manner, it will reveal the truth.” Confirmation bias is where data scientists use limited data to prove a hypothesis that they instinctively feel is right (and thus ignore other data sets that don’t align to this hypothesis). Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. 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