Important Terms

Analysis – The science of collecting, exploring and presenting large amounts of data to discover underlying patterns and trends. The goal is to identify trends.

Causation – Indication of a relationship between two events where one event is affected by the other.

Correlation – A technique used to measure and describe the strength and direction of a relationship. If two variables are correlated, they still may not be causal – an analysis of the data that demonstrates a significant correlation is necessary to make this statement. Do not make this assumption in a report without the supporting data analysis.

Data – Facts or figures from which conclusions can be drawn.

Figures/Plots/Diagrams – Visual representations of data.

Experiment – A study where treatments are applied to groups and then their effects are recorded. The treatments often include a control.

Observational Study – A study where the researcher simply observes the subjects without interfering. Data is recorded based on their observations.

Significance – The measure of whether the research findings are meaningful. It compares what you expected to find based on the population you are interested in to what you actually found from the sample that you studied.