Friday, July 6, 2012

The Forgotten Tabs: Frequency Analysis

During this year’s User Conference, I gave a presentation called “Analytics: The Forgotten Tabs”, which I’ve decided to expand into a blog series. The purpose of this series will be to explain how and why to use four of the lesser-known tabs in Analytics – Frequency Analysis, Means Analysis, Correlation Analysis, and Profiling Analysis. Each entry will focus on one of these tabs and we’ll start with the Frequency Analysis tab.

The Frequency Analysis tab’s output is actually fairly simple; it gives you the frequency of occurrence for any binary or categorical variable. For a single variable, it will output counts and percentages for each value of that variable. It is also capable of creating two-way cross frequencies, which output raw numbers, as well as row, column, and total percentages. 

While Frequency Analysis isn’t actually performing any statistical test – its functions are simple summing and percentage operations – it is providing valuable information about the number and percentage of observations that fall into each sub-category of a binary or categorical variable. Using this tab gives you a quick by-the-numbers glance at variables like “Ethnicity” or “Department”, which allows you to instantaneously compare subcategories without doing any manual addition or division. This is particularly useful when you’re working with a variable such as “Department” that may have a lot of sub-categories.

One other little-known fact about the output from Frequency Analysis (and other tabs) is that you can save it to the Report Bar the same way you would a graph or chart. To do so, click on the ‘Reports’ section of the taskbar and select ‘Launch Report Bar’. 

The report bar will float over your analysis; you can save things to it by dragging the outputs you wish to save into the bar itself. Saving things to the report bar allows you to export them from Analytics in a few different ways. If you select the ‘PPoint’ option before clicking ‘Export’, Analytics will create a PowerPoint such that each of the graphs our outputs you saved will become their own slide in the presentation. The other option you have is to save the information you’re interested in to the Reports tab in Analytics (by selecting the ‘Report’ option on the Report Bar), which allows you to create custom reports within the program and export these reports as Word Documents to be used later on. In any case, there are a number of ways to take the information that you’re getting from Analytics and use it in a presentation or report down the line.  

-Caitlin Garrett, Statistical Analyst at Rapid Insight

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