Living creatures are truly remarkable things. If you take the time to have a look at a plant or animal on a microscopic level you’ll be treated to a view of staggering complexity and breathtaking intricacy. Despite how seemingly complex these organisms are, the cells in their bodies have evolved to do very specific, devoted tasks for the greater good of the whole. It may seem like an unusual comparison to make, but the data in your research studies, audits and reports works in a very similar way to the cells in your own body. Don’t believe us? We’d be delighted to talk you through it.
The cells in your body and in the bodies of the plants and animals around you perform numerous individual tasks for the good of the organism as a whole. For example, it is the job of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body, allowing muscles and organs to function healthily, while white blood cells attack and kill foreign organisms like viruses that would otherwise cause the body harm. Without any one of these cell groupings, your body would not be able to sustain itself. Your data works in the same way. When you construct an online form or print questionnaire, every individual question or query should be structured to provide a piece of information that contributes to the whole. Nothing erroneous should be left in nor anything vital left out; just like the cells in your body, every question and the data points they throw up should have a role to play in generating the conclusions you’re looking for.
In the natural world, there are both extremely simple cellular structures and unbelievably complex ones. Single celled organisms, like Amoeba, are as basic as living creatures can be, whereas the highly developed human body contains somewhere around 50 trillion cells. As a general rule of thumb, the more advanced and highly evolved a creature has become, the more complex their cellular structures. Scale is a factor, too – the blue whale’s body contains around 100 thousand trillion cells; a staggering number considering they too evolved from those simple single-celled organisms. The nature of your study should reflect this immutable biological law. If you have a large-scale and far-reaching study, you will need far more data than if your study is simple or small, so remember to structure your data capture methodology with the results in mind.
Unfortunately, living creatures are finite things and their cells will die over time. Not only will cells slowly deteriorate up until the natural death of the organism, but they are also susceptible to diseases such as cancer. If a specific group of cells is attacked with enough aggression, it will undermine the entire organism until it can no longer survive. Your data will not die in the same way as living cells, but if it isn’t stored safely and securely in a digital database, it can certainly be lost and put paid to your study as effectively as any biological ageing process. Data cannot catch cancer, but an inaccurate group of data points can still undermine your study, causing it to fail from the inside out. If you want your study to succeed, you need to look after the health and well-being of your data.
So it seems that your data has more in common with cells and your study with living organisms than at first meets the eye. Living creatures need nurturing if they are to survive, and your study is no different. Make use of our excellent data capture and analysis services to ensure that you achieve the results you need, or let our experienced project managers stabilise your study from the ground up and help you to reach the conclusions you’re looking for.