Using data from the Disease Control and Prevention Centre and the Internet Movie Database, the number of films Nicholas Cage appeared in each year correlated with the number of people who drowned by falling into a pool. It may seem obvious that the two things are unconnected in this example, but in many cases, it can be difficult to separate correlation from causation. 

By Leah Elston-Thompson, senior account executive 
We are now collecting more data than ever before, with big data generated from connected machines, consumer habits, supply chains and more. To make the best use of data, we must collect, count, measure and analyse it — which is where statistics comes in. Statistics are used to summarise data, identify patterns and make predictions.
Surveys are a popular way of generating news, backing up claims and reviewing a company’s performance. The resulting data can be used as part of a content PR strategy to demonstrate a company’s expertise or generate thought-leading articles based on the results.
In marketing or PR content, statistics must be applied and explained correctly. Present your data wrong and you can lose credibility, influence and trust.
Clear, credible and correct
To present statistics in a credible way, you should ensure your audience can check where you got your data, either by referencing it, or if the work was in-house, by giving details of your analysis. This allows your audience to judge how reliable they think your survey is and it also avoids misleading them.
When explaining your findings, keep your explanations clear and to the point — presenting your results as a percentage rather than a fraction is usually a more digestible format for your audience. Presenting the results in an infographic can give a clear, visual explanation of your findings.
One final tip, remember that correlation does not equal causation. Just because two things are linked, doesn’t mean that one caused the other. This means the Nicholas Cage fans among you don’t need to worry about falling into swimming pools every time he appears in a film.
For more information on using surveys in PR, contact the Stone Junction team by calling 01785 225416 or e-mail me directly 
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