Is this data reliable?
27 May 2021
27 May 2021
It sometimes feels like we are surrounded by data. Social media is awash with differing graphs and charts. Many get shared and re-shared, but how do you know if the stats are to be trusted?
When was the last time you checked a stat you’ve seen online to see the source behind the figures?
The same logic applies to whether it’s an unbelievable graph you’ve seen on Twitter, or your customer satisfaction survey which has shown a 99% satisfaction score – how do you know if that data is reliable? Is it real?
If the stat is being shared without any references then don’t reshare it, you’ve no way of knowing if it’s trustworthy!
Here are four things to check –
87% of Drs say ‘sweets are good for you’ reports leading sweet manufacturer … hmmm, well it’s no surprise that a sweet manufacturer would want to shout about this stat.
If they also paid for the research then I’d be cautious about this stat because there is a chance they are bending results to fit their agenda.
Can you be sure that the stat you are reading hasn’t been taken out of context? If you see a dramatic change over time, step back and look at the bigger picture. Are there external factors at play? Zoom out and look at a longer time frame, is the pattern still the same?
They’ll also be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ico.org.uk)
These organisations have strict Code of Conduct and Guidelines to adhere to.
90% of our customers rate us as “excellent or very good” – this is a great stat. BUT if the total sample size was 10, and the questions were only asked of people who had given a 5 star Google Review, then it’s not a representative sample of the total customer base.
I think the golden rule should be – if in doubt seek more information. Here are links to reliable sources of information in the UK.
So the next time you are about to share or re-tweet a stat, take a moment to think about whether it’s a trustworthy stat.
I’d love to chat about how I can help with your next research project, please get in touch. www.acemr.co.uk/contact.