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January 2019 Recap – Dabbling in Data Science

For our first meetup of the new year we were in a new space (Hopewell) with a lot of new faces! Our speaker wasn’t new though, it was none other than cbuswaw co-founder and data science dabbleR Tim Wilson.

2019 is definitely the 11th year of Web Analytics Wednesdays (we counted), but what else is it? Is it the “Year of Mobile”? Or maybe the “Year of Linux on the Desktop”? Tim declared it to be the year of “Applied Data Science”! Sounds good to us. The mobile thing has already had a few years, and the Linux desktop thing doesn’t seem too likely… so let’s go with it!

But what does “applied data science” mean? Or “data science” for that matter? Rather than debating the definitions for the 100th time or drowning in Venn diagrams — Tim got to what it’s really all about, using data to answer questions.

Tim had somewhere between four and five examples of using R with Google Analytics to give new perspectives into the same old data that we all have and see. Which blog post was the most effective? What are the users on my site really interested in? When is my site most heavily used? Unlikely the definition of “data science”, all of these questions are eminently answerable with the right approach. You can still use a Venn diagram though if you’d like.

Tim’s approach stated no fancy paid GA or BigQuery required, no sites with millions of sessions, but a simple process:

  1. Have a question or idea about your data.
  2. Explore that data.
  3. Use R (and Shiny) to visualize and iterate on your ideas.

Tim also was brave enough to do a real-time demonstration of the R Shiny apps that he has created and made available. All of the code, slides, and links to the apps are available on github here:

https://github.com/SDITools/ga-and-r-examples

You can also watch the presentation itself!

Please join us again next month at Rev1 when Professor Marie-Catherine de Marneffe from Ohio State will cover sentiment analysis, which should fit in nicely as an extension of some of what Tim talked about this month with text analysis!