Learning About Analysis

How can one prepare, organize and analyze our data?

In the next few pages examples are provided on how to prepare the data by offering definitions that are commonly used for data preparation. Quantitative data and qualitative data will also be distinguished from one another. The two types of data are important to understand as they yield vastly different types of results. The last step will focus on describing the data and extrapolating results.

Data Preparation

Data preparation includes the careful handling of the data one collects! When collecting the surveys of audience members, or the short answer questions from students, one will notice that, while reading through them, the data begins to reveal something. For example, it could demonstrate that some audience members did not understand the play or that some students really understood King Lear, but a cursory review will not tell exactly the percentage of audience members who liked the play vs. the percentage of those that did not like the play. Until one prepares data in an organized way, one will not be able to conclude properly.

The following pages will help with defining data, collecting data and logging data into a database or spreadsheet. This process is important to understand because it defines one's analytical ability which is the ability to gain insight from the data. For example, if one decides not to put data in a spreadsheet, it is hard to average it, look for patterns and summarize it.

Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Each of the four types of assessment categories developed for TCG theatres, i.e., observations, performance tasks, portfolios and surveys, yield data that can be organized as a set of numbers (quantitative results) and as a set of learning statements (qualitative results). Quantitative results can be effective in reporting participation rates, numbers of students who achieve a certain level of standard or even comparison of students from different schools or groups. Qualitative results can be effective in reporting the “how and why of student learning” through the writing of students, the notes teachers take and the meaning that both students and teachers make from what they are learning.

Descriptive Statistics

Describing data is the most basic form of analysis and is an important step for beginning data analysis. This website will describe what data can be collected, how it averages, how many students answered a question correctly and how students felt about a play. When data is analyzed at this level, results can be summarized—for example, “most students liked the play,” or, “some students scored below a standard,” or, “87% of students correctly identified the seven letters that are passed in King Lear.”