# DAY 4: DATA ANALYSIS Zach Williams August 28, 2014 1.

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DAY 4: DATA ANALYSIS Zach Williams zwillia3@mix.wvu.edu August 28, 2014 1

BEFORE YOU START… Read the Background Information. –Gives you an introduction to the problem. –May give hints useful for the Analysis Questions. Read the Problem Statement. –It will give you an idea of what your results should provide. Read the instructions for the entire project. –What you need to do in a later step might impact how you want to complete an earlier step. Read the Analysis Questions carefully. –Generally, you’ll figure out the data you need to answer them as you complete the project. It helps to know before what you should be looking for. 2

ABOUT THE ANALYSIS QUESTIONS Analysis Questions will ask you to identify patterns or trends in the data used in the project. You might also be asked to explain why something occurred. Your answers should be: –2-3 sentences, generally. –Give some rationale for your answer. Not just yes/no. Your answers might come from: –Data in the project –Your own existing knowledge –Internet 3

SAMPLE ANALYSIS QUESTIONS Suppose you have the data shown in the chart to the right and are asked: West Virginia’s population growth hasn’t kept pace with the U.S. average. Why might this be the case? 4

SAMPLE ANALYSIS QUESTIONS: LOOKING FOR ANSWERS Notice about the data: People age 45+ make up 6% more of WV’s population than the national average. Apply common knowledge: Few babies are born to people 45 or older. 5

SAMPLE ANALYSIS QUESTIONS: GIVING AN ANSWER A good Analysis Question answer would be: West Virginia’s population is older than the national average. With fewer people in their child-bearing years, there are fewer new births to help grow the population. 6

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? What is your graph telling you about the grades for Section 1? What does it mean that Section 2’s line is sloping downward? What could this graph tell you about the study habits, the course instructors, or attendance? 7

INTERPRETING YOUR GRAPHS Locate the specific area to which the question is referring. –In the previous example, the first question asks about Section 1. Looking at the lines for Sections 2 and 3 won’t tell you much about the first section’s performance. Charts give you a visual representation of your data. Know how chart presents its data. –Here, line is showing a decrease in test scores across the semester. The visual results are only part of the answer. It can tell you what happened, but might not tell you why. Use the Internet. Think about possible causes. Draw on personal experience. –In the section whose grades increased, study habits could have improved, students might have started attending class after getting a first low grade, or the instructor could have changed his or her teaching style. –The opposite reasons could apply to the section whose grades decreased. 8

CHECKING YOUR WORK Make sure your answers make sense. –Look for numbers that are implausible, like negative gasoline prices –Check that your results are consistent across the project Review your analysis question answers –Verify your analysis question answers agree with data –Consider if your rationale makes logical sense Use hints in the project instructions. –Access queries will tell you how many records should result –If you’re told to format 5 rows and get 10 rows of data, you probably did something wrong 9