Data Analysis Framework: Defined

Data Questions

There are an infinite number of data questions that can be asked about your clients, their legal needs, and the services you provide. These 5 fundamental, high-level questions and the related, detailed sub-questions are a good place to start. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that you won’t be able to answer every data question.

Dive in, get started, and see where the answers to the questions take you.

Analysis Types


Snapshot analyses measure counts or percentages for a given period, usually the most recently completed year. If any counts or percentages are unexpected, comparison, trend or spatial analyses may be necessary to better understand the reasons for the unexpected results.


Comparison analyses review linkages between two or more variables and uncover information about client conditions and data relationships. When unexpected data relationships are discovered, investigation is warranted to better understand linkages and determine whether they indicate the need for client service and advocacy work that simultaneously targets multiple conditions at once.


Trend analyses scrutinize changes over time in client conditions. Review trends over a five-year period, or longer when possible. Spikes or dips that appear in trends might confirm what an organization expects or raise additional questions worthy of investigation to better understand the unexpected change and determine whether it calls for proactive steps.

Geographic Distribution

Geographic Distribution analyses show how people or problems or anything else of interest is distributed across service areas, which can be divided into smaller areas to reveal spatial patterns.  These patterns are opportunities to learn about the spatial dimensions of your organization and your clients. 

Geographic Concentration

Geographic Concentration analyses compare geographic concentrations (high or low) of multiple variables to determine how the variables and location impact each other. Our concentration maps display location quotients.

Data Resources & Partners

The origins of the Data Analysis Framework
Advice about which data is the easiest to access and the most informative
Making connections to organizations with access to data and analysis capabilities

Data Analysis Framework Matrix

  • Fundamental, high-level data questions in columns
  • Analyses types are in rows
  • The intersecting boxes provide links to detailed sub-questions, descriptions of the analyses, and example analyses
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Geographic Distribution
Geographic Concentration