Why It’s Useful to Show the Incidence Rate per 10K or per 100K Population Instead of Just Number of Cases

Incidence rates, or the rates of new cases of a disease, are often shown as the rate per either 100,000 population or per 10,000 population, and provide valuable additional insight to the number of new cases of the disease.

In scenarios when comparing the incidence of a disease across different localities that have varying different sizes in population, looking at the incidence rate of that disease per 10,000 or per 100,000 population helps to show a more complete picture than would only looking at the number of new cases alone.

Examples are given in the quick, 3 minute video below to further illustrate this point.

In conclusion, showing the incidence rate per 10,000 or per 100,000 population provides additional valuable insight in addition to showing the number of new cases of the disease. This is especially true when comparing the incidence rate of the disease across different localities that have varying sizes in populations. In addition, looking at the incidence rate per population is essential when comparing that rate to a state or national average for that disease or comparing it to a benchmark or goal that is in the format of an incidence rate per population.

Calculating 7 Descriptive Statistics in Google Sheets

Google Sheets can be used to calculate descriptive statistics for small data sets. However, with large data sets we recommend using statistical software made for analyzing large data sets, such as R, Tableau, SAS, STATA, SPSS, and other such software.

In the video below, we show how to calculate these seven descriptive statistics.

  1. Mean (Average)
  2. Median
  3. Mode
  4. Range
  5. Standard Deviation
  6. Coefficient of Variation
  7. Z-Score

In conclusion, Google Sheets can be used to quickly and conveniently calculate descriptive statistics like the seven discussed in this article when working with small data sets.

How to Add Filters in Tableau

Adding filters in Tableau helps you make your Tableau dashboards more useful. Filters allow you to display subsections of your data set in your dashboard. 

One way to add a filter is to use one worksheet that you have in the dashboard as a filter for the other worksheets. To do this, select the filter icon in the menu that appears to the right of the worksheet when you have that worksheet selected.

Another way is to go to the drop down menu to the right of the worksheet, hover over “Filters”, which then brings up a drop down menu in which you can select which of the variables in the worksheet you want to use to filter by.

The video below shows how to do both of these methods for adding filters  in less than 3 minutes.

As shown in the above video, adding filters to your Tableau dashboards can make your dashboards more useful and easier to display a selected subsection of your data set.

Data Sources for the data shown in this video:


5 Things to Consider When Planning a Survey

Planning out the details of how your organization will conduct a survey helps to make sure that conducting the survey is a good use of the organization’s time and resources and the results provide insight for answering the research question that was the reason for conducting the survey.

The video below briefly discusses 5 important factors to consider when planning a survey. 

As briefly discussed in the above video, 5 important things to consider are:

  1. Clearly defining what the research objectives are. Narrowing it down and getting specific about what it is that you want or need to know is important before conducting a survey.
  2. Verifying that conducting a survey is the best way to go about answering your research objectives. Once your research objectives are clearly defined you can decide if a survey and not another method, such as a focus group, an in-depth interview, a secondary data analysis, etc. is the best method to use.
  3. Deciding on or clarifying who is your target sample. Is there a certain demographic who’s opinion you want on this topic? For example, are you doing this survey as part of a community health assessment where you want a sample that’s representative of the population of the community or is it more narrow, such as if you’re conducting a customer satisfaction survey so you would want a sample of your customers to survey. Or do you only want a specific segment of those customers, such as those who purchased a particular product?
  4. Deciding on your desired sample size taking into account factors such as the response rate you would expect to get, statistics such as the sample size you would need if you want a 95% Confidence Interval, or a 90% Confidence Interval, and other related factors.
  5. Determining how you will conduct the survey based on the best way to reach your target sample to get them to complete the survey, the sample size you want, your organization’s budget and resources for conducting this survey, and other related factors.

Having a well planned out survey will ensure that your organization’s time and resources  used to conduct the survey will be put to good use and that the survey results will provide valuable insight into what it is you were trying to find out through using a survey as a research method. 

A few resources to get more information on planning a survey are:

Three Good Places to Look for Re-opening Checklists or Information on Re-opening During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Having good, accurate, and useful checklists for re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, or after any infectious disease outbreak that required closing or changing your organizations operations, makes it easier to communicate with everyone involved in your organization’s re-opening. 

Note that it is important to use your own critical thinking skills to assess whether the source of the re-opening checklist or information about re-opening is a good, reliable source for this kind of information. 

It is also important to use your critical thinking skills to assess whether the re-opening checklist or information about re-opening complies with state and local laws, ordinances in relation to re-opening in the localities in which your organization operates and for the type of industry that your organization works in. 

For more about what critical thinking is or ways that you can help others improve their critical thinking skills, see our article on this topic

The video below, part of RILLIAN’s 3 Minute Tuesday videos, mentions 3 good places to look for re-opening checklists or information on re-opening.

As mentioned in the above video, the first good source for kind information to develop a re-opening checklist is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for those in the U.S. or a similar governmental health authority in your country for those outside the U.S.

The CDC has a website to provide essential information in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, including information on re-opening for many different types of organizations.

The link to that website is: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 

A second good source for re-opening checklists and information are the state and local health departments or boards of health for the locality or localities in which your organization operates. Some localities may call them health departments some may call them boards of health or other similar names. These sources provide information specific to your state or locality. 

A third good place to look for re-opening checklists or information on re-opening is professional industry specific organizations or associations for the industry that your organization works in. These types of organizations may have re-opening checklists or information on re-opening that were adapted from information on re-opening from a source such as the CDC or state & local health departments and customized to be specific to that particular industry or profession.

There are more than the 3 good places to look for re-opening checklists or information on re-opening, such as OSHA, the FDA, Department of Agriculture, and many others. We only mentioned 3 of them in this short video. 

What sources for re-opening checklists or information on re-opening during infectious disease outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have you found to be helpful for your organization?

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking, or objectively processing and analyzing information using logic and reasoning to make informed decisions, is important.

It is important when researching a topic, gaining insights from that research, and then deciding to create, innovate, or take action based on that research and those insights. This could apply to work or to everyday life.

So basically, critical thinking is important all the time.

As someone reading this blog post, you probably are already aware of what critical thinking is and frequently use it in your work and daily life. However, you may be interested in helping others around you to improve their critical thinking skills.

We made a short, 3 minute (and 43 seconds) video on a few ways that you can do this.

Here are a few ways as mentioned in the video above that you can help others improve their critical thinking skills.

  1. Ask questions that will help the person you’re talking to to think about and evaluate the source that the data or information they are sharing comes from.
    1. For example:
      1. “Where did you find that interesting statistic about XYZ that you brought up in today’s meeting?”
      2. “That’s really interesting! Where did you find that out from?”
  2. Ask questions to help them think about and evaluate the validity of the source of the data or information that they are sharing.
    1. Such as:
      1. “I hadn’t heard of the source XYZ before. Do they have expertise in this area?”
      2. “What type of study did source XYZ do to get this data?”
      3. “What was the sample size of the study done by source XYZ?”
  3. Be a good example yourself by using good, valid, sources and cite the sources you use in reports, presentations, etc. even if it’s internal company data. For internal company data you can cite which company database you got it from or which report or filters you used to pull that data.
    1. Also, including the year of publication or date you pulled the report can be helpful. 
    2. Doing this will help others be able to better understand and evaluate for themselves if the source(s) you used are good, reliable sources or not.
  4. Avoid sharing facts, data, or information that you don’t know if it came from a reliable source or not. Don’t contribute to the spread of misleading or false information.
    1. Not everyone has developed critical thinking skills to be able to analyze for themselves if what you’re sharing is valid data, true facts, or not.
    2. If it’s a topic that interests you, or a topic that you were asked to provide information on in a meeting, presentation, report, etc. research that topic to find good, reliable data or other information from good, reliable sources on that topic to share. And be sure to cite the source.
  5. When presenting or reporting data to an audience who are researchers or have a background in statistics, etc. avoid saying that a difference, an increase, or a decrease was significant if you just mean it was important or big and not that it was found to be statistically significant.
    1. An audience who are researchers or have a background in statistics, etc. may think that you mean that the difference is statistically significant, i.e. the p-value was less than 0.05. If that’s not what you mean, then avoid saying “significant”.
    2. This helps your audience to be able to focus on, use their critical thinking skills to analyze what you are saying, presenting, reporting on, etc. and not trying to figure out if you meant it was statistically significant or not.

In conclusion, critical thinking is important in work and daily life. There are many ways you can help others to improve their critical thinking skills. We only mentioned a few in this short video.

What are some other ways that we didn’t mention that you’ve found to be useful in helping others to improve their critical thinking skills?

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a process of figuring out who has been in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with a communicable, infectious disease, such as COVID-19, contacting them to let them know they may have come into contact with a person who has the communicable, infectious disease, and informing them of their options for testing, treatment, care, and follow up.

This process is typically carried out through phone calls, although in the past as well as in some cases or reaching people who do not have phones it may have involved in person visits.

The person doing the contact tracing, called a contact tracer, informs the person they are calling or otherwise contacting, of testing options so that they can get tested to see if they have the disease. That is if testing is available for the disease in question. 

The contact tracer also provides the person with how to prevent spreading the disease to others, information on where to get treatment — if treatment is available for that disease– and help the person understand the next steps that they should take with testing, preventing spreading the disease to others, and treatment.

For example, in the case of a COVID-19 exposure, this would include the contact tracer providing the person with instructions and support on how to self-isolate or self-quarantine, how to get tested if testing is available, and recommending what to do if their symptoms get worse, such as seeking medical care.

What should you do if a contact tracer calls or contacts you? By responding to them as quickly as you can, you can reduce the time it takes per person. If you have questions for them, such as if something they said was not clear to you, ask them. If they ask you questions, answer them as accurately as you can. Listen to and follow their instructions for testing, next steps, and preventing spreading the disease to others.

What if you’re looking for a job right now and you’re interested in becoming a contact tracer? A first step could be to learn more about the contact tracing process and make yourself more competitive when applying for a contact tracing job, such as by taking a free online course, such as the one offered by Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, available at https://www.coursera.org/learn/covid-19-contact-tracing?edocomorp=covid-19-contact-tracing .

Good places to look for contact tracing jobs are state and local health departments websites, under the jobs or careers section, since contact tracing is conducted by these entities in most places in the U.S. In some localities, or in instances of large outbreaks of infectious diseases, some localities may outsource contact tracing to other organizations that have experience in this kind of public health work. If you know of an organization like this in your community, you could also check their website for job openings.

RILLIAN does not have any job openings for contact tracers. We did not get any contracts to be involved in the contact tracing or case investigation process.

However, we did create an activity tracker back in April 2020, to help reduce contact tracing time per person by logging symptoms, activities, and persons in close and frequent contact with. It is available for free from https://mailchi.mp/18d93948e8bc/rillian_activity_tracker_for_contact_tracing

Activity Tracker COVID-19 Contact Tracing

RILLIAN has developed a tool to reduce contact tracing time per person. You can download it here or by clicking the image above.

Let us know if you have any suggestions for topics in the areas of Research & Insights Leading to Learning, Innovation And actionN (R.I.L.L.I.A.N) that you would like to see us cover in our Three Minute Tuesday video series!

Email your suggestions to Jillian.Regan@RILLIANConsulting.com

Visualizing Population Data & Change in Population in Tableau

Population data and the percent change in population are two demographic measures that are great to look at for a variety of different reasons.

There are many different ways to visualize these two measures, depending what it is that you want to learn from this data or show to others in a presentation. In this post and in the video we demonstrate two different ways to do so using Tableau.

One way is to display the population data on a map. This is helpful especially if geography is important to what you are working on with this population data. For example if you are presenting different population sizes of different cities to a group of stakeholders who are not familiar with the locations of those cities or how far away or close to each other they are, then visualizing this on a map for them can help show this to them.

The percent change in population can also be visualized on a map. However, a better way to show percent change in population could be a bar graph.

The second way to display population data is with a bar graph, such as the bar graph shown in the video below for population change in 5 East Coast cities of Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Richmond (VA), and Washington D.C.

As you can see in the video, the interactive bar graph created using Tableau makes it easier to see which city had the greatest population change over the two five year periods looked at in this data set. 

Three Minute Tuesday Videos by RILLIAN, a consulting agency, briefly cover a topic in approximately 3 minutes or less. These videos are provide brief overviews of topics that are useful for anyone working in the areas of Research & Insights Leading to Learning, Innovation, And actioN (R.I.L.L.I.A.N.).

Are there any helpful tips you would like to add about visualizing population data or population change data in Tableau?

Do you have any suggestions for topics you would like to see us cover in our Three Minute Tuesday videos?

Email Jillian at Jillian.Regan@RILLIANconsulting.com .