Finding Story / 360 in Data sets

Finding Story / 360 in Data sets



story has five important elements based on many story telling experts. In our data visualization / analytical projects we can link those elements to our real world of business events.

  1. characters (Dimensions of your business)
  2. the setting (Function of your business)
  3. the plot (Events in your business)
  4. the conflict (disturbances / problem / cross roads)
  5. the resolution (Solution / happy or improvement required)

These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow.

When you think about any of your favorite teacher, actor, relative or friend, what comes to your mind? Why do you say they are your favorite? All those 5 elements are analyzed (consciously or un-consciously) and your brain picked up the favorite. During the actual events in the past allows you to narrate a story if required to tell why they are your favorite.

More perspectives you see in your interested objects / data, more the dimensions you can visualize. More dimensions you analyze, you get an idea of which perspective has interested data and what you believe in from various factors in front of you.

In a traffic violation event, what is right from a Police department’s view is not always right from the citizen who just violated speeding by 5 miles per hour in a 25 mile speeding zone. So, to understand the problem, you should choose a role, here either you choose to be a Police or you choose to be a citizen to view the information. Its a two way street, so you have to look at both perspectives to provide the right view. Context makes the data to dance in front of you. So, choose the context and relate data and get the required view. Outcome / Result can vary based on the perspective you look at.

If you see your favorite sport, there are players, teams, coaches, fans, days, time, points etc. Each one of the element which is related to that sport gives more data points, makes you the person who have more answers than the questions.

The facts come out as part of EAD (Exploratory Data Analysis) in visual analytics will lay the corner stone to open up your story. You can find an outlier to begin with which is unique in your data set compared to the known NORM. This keeps the interest of your audience. Focus on Why you see an outlier in a story? This allows us to increase audience curiosity.

As an Analyst, you have to finally tell your audience on what you found from your expertise in both data and domain. As an analyst, if you find the WHY part of your story, then you are making sure you are on the right path to tell the story. What part is not going to act as a cornerstone of the story. Put Why part of story in the middle of the circle and find the other attributes of story (what, when, who, where and How). Once you get the answers for your 4 W’s and one How component, you got your 360.

Once you get 360 degree of your story, you have more than one answer for any question. Once you are there in this position, you can tell your story much better. You have to be analytical by nature so that you can give your perspective in your answers. The above method works for me especially when I am exploring the new subject area / business analysis.

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