Depending on what kind of data you are collecting and for what purpose, the way data reliability is measured can vary considerably. For example, the expectations of expert academic research will likely differ from those used within the media for more light-hearted campaigns.
Fortunately, there are a couple of different benchmarks you can use to measure the reliability of your data, such as that:
In short, if your datasets can stand up to scrutiny and various quality checks, then you should be confident in sharing them.
Whilst having reliable datasets appears to be an intrinsically good thing, there are also numerous specific benefits of having a reliable dataset that you may not have considered yet, particularly in the context of digital PR. These include:
Data accuracy and reliability is one of the first things that journalists assess when looking at a digital PR campaign you have shared with them, particularly if they come from a publication with high publishing standards.
More often than not, this is something they will assess by reviewing your methodology and the results behind your campaign. In particular, they will look to ensure that:
What you ought to remember when collecting and analysing data is that when a journalist publishes your campaign, they are putting their name and reputation on the line, so data reliability is essential to their decision to publish your research.
Reliable data is also essential to constructing a convincing narrative and selling your story. This is especially important in the world of digital PR, since you want to sell your hypothesis or theory to journalists and readers alike, no matter how bold and creative they are.
Fortunately, if you have a strong and credible dataset to back up your claims, you can assert them with confidence, and individuals are more likely to buy into them as a result. That is also why we advise being as transparent as possible with your data collection processes, since the more honest and authentic you are with your data, the more likely it is that others will believe, share and enjoy it.
Sketchy datasets can prove harmful to the reputation of your brand, since pushing incorrect or poorly constructed results will depict your work as low-quality and lazy - two things that no business wants to be perceived as.
Instead, you want to ensure that you have a high-quality dataset, and one that you are proud to put your stamp on.
If your datasets are reliable and this can be affirmed by your methodology, then people are more likely to share your campaign.
In fact, many commentators have been quick to discuss that individuals are increasingly sceptical of the information that they see in the media, and that many individuals make a conscious effort to fact-check information before they choose to share it.
Therefore, the key to making content that people want to share online is to ensure that the claims it makes are fully justified and that the data that supports your claims is completely accurate, without any bias creeping in.
Put simply, ensuring that your data is reliable will also protect you from being sued.
How? Well, imagine that your digital PR campaign has made a claim about a certain individual or organisation that, based on your data, depicts them in a negative light. If your claims are factually incorrect, then that individual or organisation can subsequently try to sue you for defamation (where an untrue statement is presented as fact and proves damaging to the individual it describes).
If you want to avoid a situation where your digital PR campaign gets you in legal trouble, then you need to ensure that your claims are factually correct, and therefore that your data is entirely accurate and reliable. Failing this, you could land yourself in a lot of trouble and cost yourself a great deal of money in the process.
One way to ensure data reliability from the offset is to set high standards for data collection and analysis processes within your team. By developing these standards, you can encourage certain stages and precautions to be carried out throughout your studies and enhance the overall efficiency and quality of your work.
Another way to ensure data reliability is to set up quality check procedures throughout your campaign. These are often best carried out by a highly qualified data analyst or team who are experienced in assessing methodologies, spotting anomalies and using certain analytical formulas.
If your data team is particularly busy or your team lacks expertise in certain forms of data collection, then you may want to consider outsourcing your data collection to a company like uStats.org, who will carry out well-researched, professional and trustworthy data-based projects on your behalf.