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What is Data Context?

 , March 29, 2016 updated on December 09, 2017
Data context is the set of circumstances that surrounds a collection of data. Capturing and interpreting context is an basic step in data analysis. Use of out-of-context data is a common source of errors in scientific research, business decisions and professional advice.
Consider sales data over a five year period for a firm. Such data occurs within the context of political events, organizational change, market competition and other factors that can impact results in various ways. Say for example, a prominent sales manager leaves your team and brings half of your sales people with her to her new firm. Sales data may be dramatically impacted by such an event and such context may be considered when interpreting related data.
Overview: Data Context
TypeStatistical Analysis
DefinitionThe circumstances surrounding a set of data.
RiskUsing out-of-context data generally invalidates results.
Related ConceptsStatistical Fallacies
Cognitive Biases
Data Dredging

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