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Why Boring Data Matters

P value this, multivariate analysis that; it’s enough to cause an unbeatable bout with naptime. The good news is, you can save your nap for another time. This isn’t going to be one of “those” articles. I won’t be taking you deep into the world of epidemiology or surveillance. I’m also going to try and not throw around buzz words or catch phrases like “leveraging resources,” or “synergy.”

In the Fight Against Hep C – Data Matters

What I am going to do is talk about why in the fight against viral hepatitis and substance use, data is not only important but fascinating to me. Anyone who knows me well would likely tell you without hesitation one of the things I enjoy doing is reading research. Truthfully, that’s only partially true.

What I really enjoy is the investigation that leads to making connections and solving problems. I have this compulsion that before I can propose a solution I need to know how others have approached it and what their outcome was. I have to be sure any claim I’m making is either supported by previous research or is rooted in a place that is solid.

To be honest, research and numbers can be used in a lot of different ways that are misleading. Which is why I would never suggest reading just one research study, or news article, that supports one viewpoint of a subject. To be really informed and see as much of the picture possible, I also read research that points out how the solutions I believe may work have failed in the past. This gives me an opportunity to build something “new” with fewer flaws than a previous project.

Data Represents Real People

We all know behind the numbers are people. And even though that’s commonsense, I think we could all benefit from acknowledging it a little more often.

In the field of research I live closer to the sphere of qualitative, or research that focuses on stories and experiences through interviews. Even interviews and personal experiences can be broken down into numbers. Although validity and replication are important in the field of research, and for me, I don’t see research as necessarily finding answers to questions. It’s about seeing the answers in the world around us, putting it all together in a way that quite hasn’t been and then asking the right questions.

I know data can be boring, but underneath the dust and sleep inducing veneer lies rich stories of people, places, problems and attempts to fix them. When I read research I don’t see numbers and statistics. I see communities and people who cared enough about a problem near them they punished themselves for months on end to find a solution in whatever way they could and to tell a story in the best way they knew how.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.