Defining Associated Information:
Associated information is related to primary data in one of two ways. First, associated information can be created by looking at the original data and Associated Information exploring its structure or deciding what interests us most. Second, associated information can be derived automatically or semi-automatically from the values in one or more variables (or columns or fields) present in the data and a particular question being addressed.
Why Is Associated Information Important?
Associated information gives a lot of information about your data, including:
Key variables or fields most important for the question you are interested in analyzing. Although looking at the total number of cases in your data can be an easy way to estimate which variables are most important for a particular question, some research questions may require drilling down into the data to determine this. For example, if you're interested in discovering how two types of products compare along specific dimensions, knowing which product is present in each case will be essential when you analyze your data.
How Associated Information is Used in Data Analysis?
- Data Exploration: Analysts frequently begin a data analysis by reviewing the accompanying information. Understanding the data's source, quality, and format allows for more educated judgments on how to proceed.
- Data Cleaning and Preprocessing: Related to understanding the data source and quality, analysts may benefit from looking at associated information to help them identify problems with the data or with their analysis before they begin processing it.
- Data Integration: If multiple data sources are used in the same analysis, establishing a common understanding of the variables and fields used in each source is often helpful. One or more columns or fields present across multiple data sources are identified in this process.
- Data Visualization: Using associated information to identify relevant variables is crucial when choosing which values and how they relate to one another should be visualized.
- Data Transformation: Using associated information to help with data exploration may also help transform your data (from a raw to a summary or from one format to another).
- Data Sharing: By providing knowledge of how, where, and what records were derived in analyzing associated information, you can support other researchers' efforts by sharing steps about what was done and why it was done.
The primary reason associated information is used in data analysis is because it gives insight into the most critical variables or fields for a question you'd like to address. Using this information, you can explore related questions that appear more interesting than the original one. In addition to being a source of inspiration for your analyses, analyzing associated information can help you make better choices about what type of visualization or analysis should be used and how any preparation needed before processing your data should be done.