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Making Judgments

Hone your instincts to make subjective decisions


You may need to make judgments about data, but may not have the time, sufficient data or the expertise to carry out a statistical analysis. In these cases you will need to make subjective judgments, but you still want to be confident in your decision making.

The problem is that subjective judgments can be biased. You may be influenced by what you would like to have happened or would expect to have happened, rather than reflecting on what actually did happen.

If you have to make a subjective judgment about data, there are things you can do to make a more rigorous judgment, limit the bias and increase confidence in your conclusions.

  • Sample data more carefully to avoid obvious bias.
  • Make individual judgements carefully.
  • Collect enough information to increase your confidence.
  • Collect more information where there is greater variation in data.
  • Collect more information where any differences seem very close.

If you behave like an intuitive statistician in this way, you will be much more confident in your judgment even though you can’t express your confidence objectively as you could with a statistical analysis.

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