Module B

Project Description

In this project, you will complete a statistical analysis on a dataset, then write a report summarizing your findings.

Here are the steps you’ll need to complete. Under each step are sub-bullets detailing questions you need to answer in your report.

Step 1: Choosing a Dataset

In any data science project, you will need good, reliable data. There are many data sources available online. If there is a topic you are interested in, there is most likely a corresponding dataset. It is important that the dataset you choose does not have any copyright restrictions and is trustworthy. You can check on the website to see if the dataset is licensed and what restrictions there may be on using it. In most cases, using the data and drawing conclusions from it is just fine, but republishing the data itself is not allowed.

To Do:

  • Form a group of no more than 4 people. (You may want to form a group with people who are in a similar major or have similar interests as this may make dataset selection easier).

  • Find a dataset to analyze online. If you are unsure where to start looking, check out the hints section for some places to start. If you have questions about your dataset, ask an instructor before proceeding.

  • Deliverable: State and describe your dataset. Why did you choose this particular dataset?


Step 2: Clean Your Dataset

Only rarely will datasets ever be ready for analysis right away. Therefore, you will need to prepare your dataset to make useful observations. Don’t worry if it seems overwhelming at first. You want to remove outliers that may skew your dataset, while still maintaining the integrity of your data. Some steps have been provided to help with this process. Once you clean your dataset, you should be able to find sections of the data that are interesting and find relevant relationships.

To Do:

  • First look at your data and see if you can spot any inconsistencies.

  • Filter out unwanted outliers.

  • Check for missing data values

  • Deliverable: Summarize your data cleaning process and make sure to answer the following questions.

    • Are there any ethical issues with the way you cleaned the data? What are they?

    • Did you make any trade-offs as you were cleaning? What were these tradeoffs and why did you make this decision?

  • For a more in-depth explanation of data cleaning read this.

Step 3: Consolidate and Summarize your Data

After cleaning up your data, you will want an overview of what your data is saying. Sometimes when working with a large dataset, your data will be split across different sheets, making it difficult to find summary statistics. If that is the case, you will need to join common sections first before finding interesting statistics about your data.

To Do:

  • Join the multiple sheets across a common column if necessary. You will need to join datasets using VLOOKUP.

  • Using the joined dataset, find summary statistics for the population.

  • Deliverables: Describe how you consolidated your data and chose your subsections. Make sure the following questions are answered in your discussion.

    • If you needed to join your data across sheets, what did you choose as the joining key? Why?

    • For all of the numeric variables, what are the population-wide mean, median, variance, standard deviation?


Step 4: Choosing Subsets

Sometimes you can find interesting trends in subsets of the data rather than the whole dataset. For example, if you are looking at data about each of the 50 states in the United States, you can find interesting summary statistics about the west coast states as compared to the east coast states.

To Do:

  • Choose subsets of the data that you find interesting. Find summary statistics for the numeric variables, within those subsets of the data.

  • From these subsets, create a pivot table and a visualization that compares summary statistics across groups.

  • Deliverables: Continue your discussion section. Describe the subsets you chose from the dataset and include your pivot table and visualizations. Make sure the following questions are addressed.

    • Explain why you chose this set of groups.

    • Within subsets of interest, what are the count, mean, median, variance, standard deviation?

    • Is the sample size enough within each group? What does this imply for reliability of summary statistics, and for privacy considerations?

    • What comparisons are particularly interesting? Why?


Step 5: Analyze your Data

Now that you’ve looked into some subsets of data, it’s time to be more quantitative in your analysis. Look for relationships in the data and use these relationships to make predictions.

To Do:

  • Determine two quantitative variables that have either a strong or an interesting relationship.

  • Identify any potential lurking variables.

  • Fit a regression on the data and find the equation for the line of best fit.

  • Interpret the coefficients of the linear model, in the context of the chosen variables.

  • Choose some data points to predict using your regression.

  • Deliverable: Write the analysis section of your paper using what you have already done above. In addition, in a short paragraph, report your predictions in the context of the problem. Make sure the following questions are addressed.

    • How did you identify lurking variables?

    • Does the line of best fit fit the data well? If not, why not? If the result is surprising, what is surprising and why?

    • Include references to “correlation” and “causation” effects.

    • Is your prediction logical?


  • When reporting predictions here are some examples:

Step 6: Conclude and reflect

The power of data science is that you can get meaningful takeaways from statistics that can help you make a positive impact on society. Now that you’ve done data analysis, take a moment to reflect on your findings and think about the broader implications.

To Do:

  • Include a conclusion summarizing your findings. - Who does this affect? - What did you learn?

  • Proofread your report.

  • Deliverable: Write the conclusion section of your paper. Submit your report and your sheets reflecting your analysis by [Due Date].


Optional (faculty can decide whether to include or not): After completing and submitting your project, complete the group work self assessment and group assessment.

Grading Rubric




NA / Not Present

Dataset (2)

Report includes a rationale for why the dataset was chosen. If students selected a different dataset, the dataset must have been approved by the instructor.

Report does not include a rationale for why the dataset was chosen.

The dataset was not approved by the instructor.

Data Cleaning (8)

All missing/unclean data is found and accounted for in a way that makes sense. The report references data types, any ethical tradeoffs, and outlines what steps were taken and why.

Some crucial steps are not taken. Steps outlined to clean the data are ambiguous.

There is an attempt at data cleaning, but it does not get far. Large chunks of missing/unclean data are untreated. Key steps of cleaning process were not reported.

Report does not include any reference to data cleaning (independently of whether data cleaning was done).

Joining (4)

An appropriate join key was chosen. VLOOKUP was used successfully to create a joined table. The report contains a brief mention of why this key was chosen.

An appropriate join key was chosen and the join is successfully executed using VLOOKUP, but the report does not include any discussion of why this key was chosen.

There was an attempt at joining, but the wrong formula was used or the wrong key was used.

There was no attempt at using VLOOKUP.

Population Summary Statistics (6)

The summary statistics are accurately calculated and reported. There is some comment on what these values mean for the distribution.

Almost all of the important summary statistics are correctly calculated and reported.

There is an attempt at calculating summary statistics, but they are incorrect or not referenced in the report.

There is no attempt at calculating the population summary statistics.

Grouped Summary Statistics (8)

A pivot table was used to calculate relevant summary statistics per group. The pivot table is presented in the report in a clean way. There is some other visualization showing some important summary statistics. There is some mention of sample size within groups, as well as why the specific grouping was chosen.

There is a working attempt at a pivot table, and it is presented in the report. Not all numbers are accurate, and there is no extra visualization. There is some mention on sample size within groups.

There is an attempt at a pivot table, but it uses the wrong dimensions and measures. The grouped summary statistics are incorrect or non-existent.

There is no attempt at a pivot table.

Regression (8)

Report includes both the scatter plot and the line-of-best-fit equation, and these values are (close to) correct. The report includes a discussion of why the particular variables were chosen, the meaning of the coefficients, and correlation versus causation. There is some mention of whether regression is appropriate for the sample size.

The line of best fit is not completely correct The scatter plot is missing from or wrongly formatted in the report The discussion on variable selection, coefficient interpretation, and correlation vs. causation is not sufficiently detailed or accurate.

There is some attempt at a line of best fit, but the values are completely wrong. The scatter plot or the equation are not included. There is no proper discussion on variable selection, coefficient interpretation, or correlation vs causation.

There is no attempt at fitting a regression.

Prediction (6)

The equation of the line of best fit is used to predict these values. The report correctly identifies and explains which points are suitable for prediction. The ethics of prediction are mentioned, and the report includes the pros and cons of using a linear regression to predict.

Values are chosen for prediction that are largely appropriate. The report struggles with why some points are not suitable for prediction. There is some mention of the ethics of using prediction from a linear model.

There is an unsuccessful attempt at prediction. There is little or no mention of suitability of prediction of certain points, or the chosen points are not usable with this model.

There is no attempt at prediction using the line of best fit.

Conclusion (4)

The report contains a conclusion section summarizing key findings from other rubric areas. It is concise and complete.

The report contains a conclusion section, but either contains minor inconsistencies with previous findings, or omits relevant findings.

The report contains a conclusion section, but it is incomplete or doesn’t accurately reflect previous findings.

The report does not contain a conclusion section.

Readability (4)

The report is structured by section, with appropriate headings. The report has very few spelling/grammar errors.

The report’s structure lacks clarity or is otherwise difficult to read. The report has several spelling/ grammar errors.

There is no report.

Total (50)

Optional (faculty can choose whether to include or not): Here is an example project.

You have attempted of activities on this page