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Andrew Gelman


Just a quick comment. You write, "I can't help but think that the research would have been better without the pretense of being data-driven. Most if not all the conclusions are mostly supported by interviews, and not so much by the data anyway."

But interviews are data! Don't fall into the trap of thinking that something's only "data" if it has a number attached.


Andrew: Thanks for the comment! My words failed me there. What I meant to say is just drawing conclusions from the interview data was good enough for me; seeing the statistical modeling actually makes me less confident about their conclusions.

On a side note, I am very interested in how to integrate survey data and "Big Data" (i.e. web logs type data) to provide much richer insights. Log data (or other observational data) are often just descriptive; and we need the surveys/interviews to understand the psychology.


If you went through this seeing how they matched up with guidelines on how to present data they would fail badly. No information on numbers in groups, and no confidence intervals. Although this could be because they were hiding the fact that they don't have enough data to do comparisons (n approx 20 for Star group etc can be calculated), it is probably because they don't have any idea of statistics. If they looked at the CI it would be obvious that no statement can be made about the groups.

On HR, how useful they are depends on how the are used. A lot of companies let HR run too much of their business and find that they don't do it well. It is a cliche that a business is it's employees, but get the wrong ones and it isn't much of a business.

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