Statistical analysis process

In a statistical analysis, there is a typical sequence of steps.

  1. Interview the data – where did it come from? Is it high quality? Does it omit any details? Are omitted details important?
  2. Check for significant correlation – Are variables related to one another? What happens if you randomly re-distribute one or more variables? Is there a trend? Does it change with re-distribution?
  3. Check for causality – Does one variable affect the value of another?
  4. Generalize causality – Can the causality apply to broader contexts? Is causality limited to a certain area, scope, demographic, timeframe, etc?

Each step tends to refine data, questions, etc.. Some analysis attempts may not make it through the series of steps.