Short Notes on Thinking with Data
- Arguments are how we convince ourselves that something is true.
- Argument theory provides a useful set of mental models for understanding arguments.
- Data work is held together by arguments.
- Data are just (sadly) observations.
- What we want is knowledge and representation, maybe even understanding and insight.
- By doing so, arguments move from what is unknown/not agreed upon yet.
Arguments are how we turn observations into knowledge.
- Claim => Audience does not believe it(yet).
- Prior Knowledge => Things you/your audience believes already before the case is made.
- Evidence => Where data enters into an argument. It becomes part of the argument, not just “data” anymore. It gains context in that sense.
- Justification => Reasoning why evidence should cause vs to believe the claim.
- Rebuttal => Any of the reasons why the justification might not hold in this particular case.
Patterns of Arguments
Template for Claims
- Categories of Dispute
- Causal Analysis
- Large set of patterns are necessary.
- Goal is to claim to have reasonably accounted for alternative explanations.
- People will interpret our work causally, we should try our best to make it reasonable to do so.
- Mental models make our lives and our work better.
- Arguments are a deep part of working with data.