To engineer is to exercise engineering judgment—to make decisions—and good decisions are founded on insightful analyses of data. But in today's high-paced culture, there is a tendency to minimize the effort devoted to analysis; often, analyses are reduced to perfunctory statements that are cheap, easy, and of little value. Since experiments are expensive and time-consuming, we would be better served by balancing the effort made in collecting data against a comparable effort in extracting meaning from that data.
To guide engineers and students into deeper analyses, J. M. Haile has written Analysis of Data. In six short chapters, Haile addresses the essentials of assessing the quality of data, correlating data, testing for sensitivity, and attaching meaning to data. As an example of the care with which Haile approaches the subject, he makes a clear distinction between errors and uncertainties; his discussion of uncertainties follows that of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Analysis of Data is not comprehensive; rather, it is intended to show experimentalists how to begin a deeper analysis of their data. In many complex undertakings, the first steps are the most difficult and tentative, and Analysis of Data can make the start of an analysis less troublesome and more productive. The book is appropriate as a main text in engineering laboratory courses or as a supplemental text in design courses and introductory engineering courses. It could also be used with profit by graduate students and practicing engineers. Analysis of Data is available for $19.95 from the publisher's website.
J. M. Haile has 24 years experience in teaching science and engineering. He is the author of Molecular Dynamics Simulation (Wiley), Lectures in Thermodynamics (Macatea), Technical Style (Macatea), and former North American editor of the international journal Molecular Simulation (Gordon and Breach, London).
Analysis of Data, J. M. Haile, 1st ed., 5-1/4 x 8-1/4, 128 pages, ISBN 0-9728602-0-7, $19.95, published Jun 03.