Research Tip: Turn Your Data Into Stories
The goal of great market research is to provide answers substantiated with data. To make that research really shine, the ultimate goal should be to Turn Data Into Stories. That is why, in the video we released earlier this year, we highlighted “turning data into stories” as the definitive last step to getting your research used.
But, you may ask, why is turning data into stories so crucial? Sure people love stories. Yes they grab attention. But there are deeper reasons why it is so important to find and develop the story in your data. Here are those reasons.
Turning data into stories …
- … tells you what to do. Data have no inherent meaning, and there is nothing inherently “actionable” about data until it is embedded in a narrative that outlines the problem, the solution, and the options for how to proceed.
- … helps you integrate seemingly conflicting data. Good data contains a great deal of variation, and needs a compelling story that makes sense of variation, explains contradictions, and highlights priorities so that managers can keep focused on what matters.
- … helps you avoid mistakes. But explaining variation means double and triple checking that the data are right (hint: look for disconfirming evidence!) to ensure that every apparent contradiction is true and actually fits.
- … gets your research heard and understood. And it’s not just because people love stories—it is also because writing the story requires translating convoluted statistical statements into regular prose that people can grasp intuitively.
- … helps you communicate research to multiple audiences. Since data and facts never speak for themselves, they can and should communicate different messages to different audiences, which is exactly what they do when skillfully pulled into a research story.
Ultimately, turning data into stories makes your research better and more relevant.
Besides our video, we elaborate on these ideas further in this whitepaper on Turning Data Into Stories and via this feature-length article on 7 Steps to Turning Data Into Stories. We hope you find value in all three, and that you’ll send us your next RFP when you need great market research that really shines.