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Data Governance

Meaningful Data Use

When data are used meaningfully, the data have an documented, important, and useful purpose for supporting University processes, which in turn, drive informed decision making.

Data become meaningful when we can clearly articulate the problem that it will help solve. Data become meaningful to the University when they are used to answer questions that will satisfy strategic priorities and further the mission of the organization as a whole; today and into the future.

Here are some tricks and tips to help you use data in a meaningful way:

  • When asked for data, make sure to ask probing questions to fully understand the request and how the data will be utilized.
  • Document the questions that can be answered with data provided (and which cannot) and how these questions aligns with the priorities and mission of the University.
  • Understand and document the purpose for reports, analyses, dashboards, etc.
  • Ensure the data that are needed to answer the questions satisfactorily are available and collected for analyses.
  • Validate data quality (typically in Consistency Phase) to understand any gaps or errors in data. Document these and, if needed, make updates to ensure data quality.
  • Do background research and reading to make sure you are conducting correct analyses on data. Make sure you are utilizing the right statistical models.
  • Beware of bias risks in the form of both confirmation bias as well as other hidden bias. Address and document any biases in the data.

Read more about using data meaningfully in the Data Usage Guidelines report.

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