Ensuring Proper Communication
Because each individual is approaching the analysis of data from his or her own unique experience and perspective, it is not uncommon for information to be misinterpreted when presented and/or communicated. What seems clear and obvious to one person might lead another to make wrong assumptions. That is why such careful consideration must be given to presenting data in the most appropriate manner.
As you review your Resources this week, continue your research the Library, and prepare to write your Discussion posting, contemplate the following. Note: You do not need to directly answer these points in your Discussion post as they serve only to begin your thinking process; however, you must explain your reasoning as you formulate your formal response.
- From your own experience consider a situation where you (or someone you were working with) misinterpreted data you presented and/or communicated and came to the wrong conclusion.
- What were the consequences?
- In hindsight, what could have been done to avoid the misinterpretation?
- What if the data is qualitative, not quantitative? How does that change the presentation and interpretation process, if at all?
- Now watch the video “Danger of Wearing Glasses” in this Week’s Resources. Consider whether this data could be misinterpreted or someone might reach the wrong conclusions based on the way it was presented.
Now answer one of the following:
- As a manager, how can you ensure that you are minimizing error in interpreting data when it is presented and/or communicated to you? What questions should you ask to guard against misinterpretation?
- What is the role of context? How do changes in context affect the interpretation?
- Discuss at least one area of the video “Danger of Wearing Glasses” (in this Week’s Resources), in which you think someone might misinterpret the data presented and why. What consequence(s) might result?
Tufte, E. R. (2008). Visual and statistical thinking: Displays of evidence for making decisions (4th Printing). Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press LLC.
“The Decision to Launch the Space Shuttle Challenger”, pp. 17–31
Few, S. (2006). Visual communication: Core design principles for displaying quantitative information. Cognos Innovative Center for Information Management. Retrieved from
Few, S. (2012). Show me the number: Designing tables and graphs to enlighten. Oakland, CA: Analytics Press.
Gonick, L., & Smith, W. (2015). The cartoon guide to statistics. New York, NY: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins .