All That Great Research Ain’t Any Good If You Are Reading It Wrong

If you are like me, you have been excited by the increased quantity and quality of research being made available about arts and culture issues and practices!

Even if you aren’t as excited as I am, you may be finding some research reports to be helpful and interesting to your daily operations.  The format and presentation of information over the last five years or so has really made dense concepts easier to understand.

I encourage you all to head over to a post published today on Arts Hacker where I talk about the potential to misread and misinterpret research findings.

Earlier this month Colleen Dilenschneider wrote about some really egregious misreadings of research findings by cultural executives.  While these anecdotes were entertaining, I thought maybe she was exaggerating the problem a little bit.

However, when I was reading Board Source’s Leading With Intent study in preparation for writing a blog post earlier this month, they had a section which specifically cautioned about misreading their graphics and emphasized the need to carefully read captions explaining what was being depicted.

The Arts Hacker post deals with all of this in greater detail and illustrations. Whether you think you are apt to following into the trap of misinterpreting data or not, it is worth the quick read to help be more mindful of this tendency.

With Great Research Comes Great Responsibility


About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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