The Method Book
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Exploring the problem with data




Exploring the problem with data

In Chapter 2, we took a big picture view of the problem by looking at it through a systems lens. In Chapter 3, we introduce some common methods for analysing data to better understand the problem. They cover a mix of simple and complex analysis techniques, as well as audience segmentation approaches.

Turning numbers into narrative

As a society, we are dealing with increasingly complex problems and working in environments where there are many competing agendas. To build a shared understanding of the problem and uncover insights on the changes that organisations can make - and those which may be out of their control - we use systems,  process, actor and influence mapping to identify the individuals, groups and organisations involved in the problem - and who may be part of the solution.

Further resources

Influences, further reading and blog posts related to this chapter. 

Digital inclusion and online behaviour: Five typologies of Australian internet users

Associated with our work with Australia Post (left), is this this *paid* article in Behaviour and Information Technology, 4, 367-380. Borg, K. & Smith, L. (2018)

The practice of cluster analysis

In the *paid* Journal of Classification, 23(1), 3-30 . Kettenring, J. (2006).

Why looking at the average can be misleading: The argument for segmentation

In this article, chapter co-author Kun Zhao and Luke Smillie (University of Melbourne) argue that personality science can help us better understand, measure and capitalise on individual differences when it comes to behaviour change.

Blog post

Overturning mistaken assumptions about behavioural problems with data

Intuitions and assumptions are not always reliable guides for designing behavioural interventions. In this post, we share some learnings from times where our data told a different story.

Social Inclusion Index

In order to look at the issue of discrimination through a behavioural lens, we surveyed over 6,000 Australians from all walks of life to develop the Social Inclusion Index.

Making Australia a digitally-inclusive society

Approximately one in seven (or, around 3 million) Australians rarely or never use the internet. This project aimed to better understand the barriers to a more digitally inclusive society.

Tackling the problem of charity dumping

Working with EPA Victoria, local councils, charities and the National Association of Charitable Recyclers, we looked into ways to reduce illegal dumping of second-hand clothes.


Tabachnick, B. G. and L. S. Fidell (2019). Using multivariate statistics. Boston, Pearson.

Pallant, J. (2020). SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS. Routledge.

Field, A. Miles, J. & Field, Z. (2012). Discovering statistics using R. Sage Publications

Howell, D. (2019). Fundamental statistics for the behavioral sciences. Cengage.

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