How I Use Logic As An Analyst

Here is a follow up to the student I am helping with her class assignment on Logic… She asked me how I apply logic as an analyst with an example and here is what I came up with.

How I Use Logic As An Analyst

According to Webster’s Dictionary, logic is “the science or art of exact reasoning” and analyst is “someone who is skilled at analyzing data”. The two definitions are where I start when how I think back to the application of logic during my career as an analyst.

To solve business problems you need data. You need to identify the right data, analyze it and communicate your results. In all three aspects of analysis work you need to employ logic.

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

When you are given a business problem to solve, say how to determine a market for a new project or trying to figure the cause behind a slowdown in production, you need to start with data. What data you get, how you get it and where you get it from is all driven by a combination of your business experience and logic.

Logic helps you eliminate data that useful to the problem at hand. One time when I was looking for data on current remittance flows to China, a logic driven approach would be to start looking at Chinese economic websites. Which I did using the science of logic.

Once I got some data sources on remittances from the US to China, I then used logic in my analysis. Is the data current? Is the source reliable? Is it relevant? Logic dictated that I not use sources that were more than a year old, where not from government sources and where directly providing data on remittances to China.

In my analysis I saw several patterns, most remittances where going to only two provinces. That is logical when you research to see that most immigrants to the US come from these two provinces.

And when I was ready to communicate my results, my choice on which application to use, what tone to use in my language and what visuals to use were all driven by my knowledge of the audience.

Since this was for a senior manager, well-versed in remittance patterns and very comfortable with big data speak, I just cut and past some charts from Excel into an e-mail and gave him 2-3 bullet points about the patterns I saw and noted my source. It was logical that he didn’t need a lot of explanation or easy to see analysis given his pedigree.

If this had been for a more general audience of say fresh grads who have never looked at this kind of data before, it would be logical to use PowerPoint, supply several descriptive notations and some easy to digest visuals that show remittance trends.

Trying to provide students with a report designed for senior managers is illogical for someone like myself with a lot of business analysis experience.

In the end, it is my opinion that few career paths call for a more consistent application of logic then does that of an analyst.

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