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What is Exploratory Data Analysis?

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Exploratory data analysis is an approach to statistical analysis that seeks to find hypotheses to explain observed data. This is the opposite of confirmatory data analysis, the process of developing a hypothesis and then performing experiments to see if you can confirm it.

Data Dredging

Automation of exploratory data analysis, known as data dredging, is a somewhat controversial technique that finds patterns in data with brute force processing. It's controversial because it's an easy way to produce a research paper that looks valid since the data and hypothesis will match. However, the hypothesis may simply be a random pattern in the data that fails against any other dataset.
Overview: Exploratory Data Analysis
Using statistical analysis to generate hypotheses.
Developing theories in the early stages of research.
Related Concepts
Data Dredging
Confirmatory Data Analysis
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