January 30, 2024

How to Write a Data Report

Writing about data is a specialized skill that requires analytical thinking and creative writing to make numbers come to life for readers. Whether you're just testing the waters with your first data-driven piece or a seasoned pro, the following tips will help you write a data report that will engage and inform your readers.

Describe Your Data in the Methods Section

If you're using any statistical tools in your analysis, make sure that you explain how you gathered the data for those tools in the methods section. Your reader will want to know who you interviewed, surveyed or observed and why you did so. This is important for building your credibility as a researcher, and also gives your reader context and insight into the way that you interpreted the data.

Use tables or graphs to present your results and avoid presenting too many statistics in the text. Statistics can be overwhelming for a reader, and they should be used sparingly, if at all. A good rule of thumb is to only include statistics that are directly relevant to your argument or purpose and that your readers would not have found out about otherwise.

Finally, always cite your sources. This is especially important if your research material comes from a confidential source. Doing so protects the integrity of your research, and it will keep other researchers from accidentally using the same or similar results in their own work.

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