The Secret to Unbiased Understanding of Your Data

October 10, 2023

Maryfrances Porter


I’ve worked with hundreds of social sector leaders and everyone is worried about understanding their data in the most objective way possible.


The Scientific Process

There’s a myth that in The scientific community, there is some magic way researchers are able to understand their data purely and objectively.Researchers are able to control the environment by having a solid experimental design. And, they are able to use statistics to determine if their results are probably true (versus a chance occurrence).

But, researchers are biased in understanding data … just like the rest of us.

The guard rails in academia? Other researchers. They (1) look critically at published research findings, and can publicly disagree with the understanding, and (2) do similar experiments again to see if the findings (and the understanding) hold up.


The Social Sector

As a nonprofit or philanthropic leader, you are not a scientist and are not using experimental design or statistics.

The way you make understanding data inclusive and less biased is to bring together many kinds of expertise and perspectives creating survey questions, AND when turning your data into understanding, which you then turn into knowledge and action.


An Insight & Learning Team

Don’t blindly trust your own, personal perspective. Set yourself up for success by bringing together people with expertise in…
  1. the organizational functioning and culture,
  2. what’s happening in the community at large,
  3. what’s happening in the community you’re working with, and
  4. the experience of your clients.
This diverse Insight & Learning Team gets really good at looking at the data and graphs. They are able to:
  • ask important questions about the data
  • develop informed understandings about what’s behind the data
  • make informed statements about what’s important
  • develop appropriate actions that need to be taken to improve impact
Your Insight & Learning Team is your key to ensuring that your understanding of the data is as unbiased as possible.


I hope this is helpful!   Good luck out there!


Learn more in the ImpactStory Academy!

Partnerships for Strategic Impact®

At Partnerships for Strategic Impact®, I have all the tools to build out the structures and strategies you need for collecting actionable impact data; I train staff in how to use them, analyze data, and make action steps for change; I teach you to tell powerful impact stories. My goal is your sustainability: I provide just the right amount of coaching and ongoing support to ensure success.

This is within reach. It’s not harder than managing your budget. Plus, you, your funders, and the people you serve deserve to know more about the value your organization delivers.

If you’re reading this, then you’re already part of my network. Schedule some time on my calendar. There’s no sales pitch and no obligation. Just curiosity and answering your questions.  I am the seasoned program-evaluation, program-development, data-storytelling consultants you need, right in your back pocket. I am here to bring order to the process of figuring out how to track and use your impact story.

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach


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By Published On: October 8th, 2023Categories: Blog - Powerful Data AnalysisComments Off on The Secret to Unbiased Understanding of Your Data