Issue #13&14 APRIL/MAY 2009
The Top 9 from 411SmallBusinessFacts.com
Presenting data in a usable fashion is a continuing issue for 411SmallBusinessFacts.com. One of the more difficult problems developing usable tables appears when a survey question can be presented from more than a single perspective. Take, for example, the simple question – Did you switch your product liability insurance carrier in the last year? The answer to that question, the percent switching, totally depends on the denominator or, less mathematically, the population the affirmative responses are spread over. So, 411 might contain a table showing that 2% of all employing small businesses switched product liability insurance carriers. Or, 411 might contain a table showing that 10 percent of employing small business with an existing product liability insurance policy switched carriers. Or, 411 might contain a table showing that 23% of employing small businesses who shopped for a new product liability insurance policy switched. Note the numerator has remained constant in each example, but the denominator has progressively declined. However, each is correct (the numbers in the example are hypothetical) and each will be of particular interest to some reader. That leaves a problem preparing tables for 411. Which level of analysis should 411 provide?
To this point, 411 has provided a table at the lowest level of analysis, that is, the denominator employed has been the smallest relevant number. In the example above, 411 would show that 23% of employing small businesses who shopped for a new product liability insurance policy switched. But 411 is gradually expanding its offering to make more data available to the reader by increasing the number of relevant populations (denominators) used. The result will not grow the number of tables, but it will expand the size of many.
The Foundation hopes data expansion will make 411 increasingly relevant to users.
The NFIB Research Foundation