In addition to
surveys being overworked as a data collection method, cross-tabulations
of the data, or simply “the tabs,” are equally overworked
as the primary analysis tool. A client once told me that “Everything
you need to know is in the tabs.” In my
opinion, this sums up the prevalent view of market researchers.
Tabs are quite often printed in books with voluminous pages and 8-point font. They’re predefined once the survey is designed with a complex set of programming code generating them, code that becomes difficult to change so that the tabs are usually unchangeable; i.e., they’re static. This has an important implication for data analysis: you can’t look at rearrangements or reconfigurations ...