Once the data has been collected and analyzed, new potential causes often surface. These potential causes should be pursued as soon as possible since they are suggested by the data.
The data collection for this step in the problem solving process can be as simple as check sheets or as sophisticated as design of experiments. The data analysis can rely heavily on simple graphical techniques such as histograms, pareto charts, control charts, stem-and-leaf and dot plots. By using graphical tools, quick comprehension by all participants as well as accurately communicated information will result. Comparison plots and stratified graphs are helpful in assessing stratification factors. To evaluate the relationship between characteristics, a scatter plot would be an effective tool.