Get Cheated By Data? Why I Don’t Always Use Data In My Videos
Data is not presented neutrally—it is used to lead people into adopting a particular view or perspective about a given matter.
Statistics can have a direct impact on people’s decisions and should be analysed holistically.
There are two sides to a coin. Sales agents might interpret a piece of data differently from a consultant for instance.
Graphs and figures are useful sources of information. However, the way that data is presented can be affected by one’s agenda or intentions. Using data, people can be induced to believe what one intends for them to believe. When we come across statistics like the number of units of property sold or transaction records, we have to consider them realistically and logically.
Let us take the example of a property project which recorded no unprofitable transactions but only sold 5 units after attaining Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) status. This can be interpreted as a sign that the property is unpopular since the demand for it is low. But it can also suggest that the number of prospective homeowners has shrunk instead. Rather than accepting one particular view as the truth, it is important to make sense of why these opinions differ.
To do so, we have to consider the angle from which the person sharing the data is coming. A salesperson is likely to use data to persuade buyers and maximise their profits, whereas a consultant or market researcher may approach the same data with the intention to help the public make more informed decisions. The interpretations that they convey will thus reflect their respective positions and purposes.
Analysing data from a broader perspective entails being aware of these different standpoints.