April 21, 2019

Getting the Real Facts: How Industry Analyst Reports Can Trick Readers - page 2

Start from the Beginning

  • November 14, 2005
  • By Maria Winslow

Some studies take a premise, form it into a question, then report on how the surveyed organizations responded. That's a good idea, but only if the assumptions make sense for the real world. Your first task while reading the study is to assess the usefulness of the premise. If it's not realistic for your situation, then discount the study.

One of the surveys referenced by Microsoft, for example, asked participants about the wholesale replacement of Windows systems with Linux. But no one indiscriminately replaces one technology with another one wholesale. It was an unrealistic question that produced a meaningless and misleading result.

Lesson: abstract assumptions do not translate well to the real world.


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