When you’re deeply embedded in quantitative data, it’s so easy to sometimes forget that those numbers in front of you come from incredibly deep, rich, and varied life paths. My 11-year-old son recently reminded me of the importance of contextualizing data in research design and analysis.
Here’s what happened:
My kiddo constantly leaves wet towels right outside the bathroom door (bear with me, I promise there’s a point). It drives me NUTS. I find myself thinking, “This is so lazy! Why can’t he take five extra steps and hang up that towel? Does he think I’m his servant?”
Finally, I asked him, “Why can’t you just go in the bathroom and hang up the *%#@$ towel?” (I promise I only said the expletives in my head.)
His response was, “Mom, it’s so dark in there. I hate going in there alone.”
Once I had that context, I no longer considered his actions lazy. I realized he was doing the best he could within his limits. So today, I’m going to say, “Hey, your towel is on the floor. Let’s go put it away together.”