“Facts all come with points of view
Facts don’t do what I want them to”
– from the Talking Heads’ song Crosseyed and Painless
As an analyst, this has always been one of my favorite Talking Heads songs.
The academic term for “facts all come with points of view” is value impregnation. It’s the idea that the analyst already has the conclusion in mind from the get-go and their objective is to just find data that supports what they already believe to be true. This lyric does really point to an on-going challenge not only among analysts, but throughout our culture today.
And it’s very dangerous.
I learned this early in my career. When I was still in grad school, I worked at a University’s research lab. One day, a representative from a large well-known national corporation walked into my office, and offered to do a very big-budgeted research project with us – if – we could guarantee that the research findings would support his agenda. It was an early lesson in the slippery slope of incremental corruption.
Of course, we turned that project down.
One of the great joys of working at Analytical Ones is that we are free to follow wherever the data leads. You can always trust the insights we provide are grounded in your data. Always.