The wide availability of computer technology and large electronic storage media has led to an enormous proliferation of databases in almost every area of human endeavor. This naturally creates an intense demand for powerful methods and tools for data analysis. Current methods and tools are primarily oriented toward extracting numerical and statistical data characteristics. While such characteristics are very important and useful, they are often insufficient. A decision maker typically needs an interpretation of these findings, and this has to be done by a data analyst. With the growth of the amount and of the complexity of the data, making such interpretations is an increasingly difficult problem. As a potential solution, the paper advocates the development of methods for conceptual data analysis. Such methods aim at semi-automating the processes of determining high-level data interpretations, and discovering qualitative patterns in data. It is argued that these methods could be built on the basis of algorithms developed in the area of machine learning. An exemplary system utilizing such algorithms, INLEN, is discussed. The system integrates machine learning and statistical analysis techniques with database and expert system technologies. Selected capabilities of the system are illustrated by examples from implemented modules.