Six Things You Might Not Know About Data Literacy

Six Things You Might Not Know About Data Literacy

Data management is a tricky topic – to say the least. Do we understand our data? How best to use it? Or whether to share it with others? Whether you like it or not, data literacy is inescapable. Data is important no matter what industry we work in or how much technology we use.

Even if you think you know the topic, the Institute for Data Management (i4DM) has compiled these important aspects of data literacy.

What Is Data Literacy?

Data literacy is the ability to safely and effectively read, work with and communicate about data. More than simply understanding and working with numbers, it includes assessing data sources and collection methods, defining data, dealing with data quality along with maintaining the correct security, ethical and legal requirements. Luckily, data literacy is not difficult to come to grips with. It is easy to grasp the basics and build your skills – especially when you follow these six tips.

  • Uncertainty Is Inevitable

Even if the data quality is not ideal, Data Analysts will need to manipulate it to gain insights.  Information is often displayed neatly on an infographic but all likelihood this masks a messy reality. This is life.

  • Data Comes In All Shapes And Sizes

Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, Images, databases and emails are all forms of data. Understanding what type you are working with and what is appropriate for your purpose is vital.

  • Sources Matter

When looking at a dataset, ask yourself: is it from a trustworthy source? How was the data collected? Is it aggregated or normalised? These questions might seem obvious, but they have a profound impact on reliability, validity, and accuracy.

  • Data Tells A Thousand Stories

When analysing data, you are generally looking for patterns. They will tell you a story about what has happened or something else entirely. Keep digging and do not settle for your first revelation.

  • Share Data Stories Responsibly

Once you have drawn your conclusions be sure to pay particular attention to how data is visualised. Be careful not to misrepresent what the data is telling you. Percentages, ranges or correlations – all will influence people’s key takeaways.

  • You Don’t (And Shouldn’t) Need To Know Everything

The best way to build data literacy is to practice with it and share it with others.

For further teaching in the topic of data literacy, i4DM offers a wealth of training that will elevate your understanding to a new level. Find out more about our data literacy courses.

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