What Is Exploratory Data Analysis?

Exploratory data analysis is like taking stock of your kitchen before cooking a meal—assessing which ingredients you have in your pantry and how they might coincide with each other will determine the recipe you make. In the same way, the key details you discover about your data during exploratory data analysis will guide the direction of your machine learning or analytics projects. Exploratory data analysis summarizes key characteristics of the data, such as number of cases, variables included or missing observations, to develop more informed hypotheses that led to better results.