Step 5: Organize, Analyze, and Interpret

This is the step in which you will attempt to determine what the data means and what it implies.

First, organize your data in a legible format to simplify the analysis process. This will help you to find what you need more quickly and easily. In this respect, it is recommended that all comparable data be grouped together on one page or in one file. Also, tables, such as that shown in the following section, are very useful in organizing data, thus making it much easier with which to work.

Then, attempt to answer the questions that you or others may have regarding your data. What does the data mean? What does it tell you? For example, does a increasing population of young children on your street require some action to be taken in your neighborhood. What has caused this change? Was it an influx of young families moving in? Or is this increase attributed or related to something else? Does the data reinforce or disprove your previous thoughts? Does it illustrate a need for something (such as an after school program for youths or a city ordinance) or display that some measure needs to prevented (speeding)? Does it communicate the need for a playground nearby? Or does it indicate that "Children at Play" signs should be erected?

Proceed to Step 6 ->