Saturday, October 27, 2012

Exploratory Data Analysis

I've used exploratory data analysis (EDA) in my work and in my thinking about situations ever since discovering it years ago.  I've used paper and pencil, XLISP-STAT, R, ggobi, and other tools.  I've read a number of the books.

When suggesting EDA to others, I've been puzzled: do I recommend they read one of the books, which is likely more than they want to start?  Do I tell them about particular techniques, which miss the flavor and contribution of EDA?

A year or two ago, I discovered John Behrens' Principles and Procedures of Exploratory Data Analysis, which seems to contain principles and some of the common procedures. I'm noting this here, both for you to find and for me to re-find more easily in the future.

In searching for this article, I ran across Chong-ho Yu's site on Exploratory data analysis and Data visualization, which seems to provide a good introduction to the ideas of EDA as expressed by Behrens.  That doesn't seem surprising, as Yu seems to have studied under Behrens at ASU.

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Blogger Derek Coursen said...

Thanks for posting this. I've often encountered public policy settings where stakeholders were very committed to developing performance indicators... yet the only feasible ones were only of diagnostic value, not dispositive of anything about performance. In that kind of situation I wish there were more openness to and opportunity for using an approach like EDA to figure out what's going on.

18 September, 2013 18:10  
Blogger Bill Harris said...

You're welcome, Derek. I like Behren's article a lot, too.

01 October, 2013 22:40  

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