This project will help you advise your company’s management on the cost of doing business, how to achieve success in income revenues, and make recommendations on the allocation of salaries across the company. Management will be able to use your analysis to fairly adjust salary anomalies, and also show profitability which might be used for further investments, hiring additional staff, or even employee incentive pay.
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Over this two-week period, you will use mathematical operations and data analysis to solve problems and inform decision making. Your final assignment will be the creation of a comprehensive Excel workbook with supporting charts and graphs and a short analysis of the data.
This project will enable you to refresh and refine your skills in math and statistics before you tackle a real-world data set using Excel to analyze and display the data.
Quantitative reasoning uses a process similar to the qualitative research process in that you will first identify an issue or problem and then use mathematical formulas or an analytic tool to derive a solution. You will construct graphs, charts, and tables to display data and inform analysis and interpretation. You will evaluate the results of the information, draw analyses and validate them by applying them to the issue or problem.
This project will enable you to see the connection between data and how the use of quantitative analysis of that data informs solutions to practical problems with potential impact on your organization or industry.
There are 10 steps that will lead you through this project. Each step should take no more than two hours to complete. Begin by watching the video above, which introduces the project as it might occur in the workplace, and then continue with Step 1: Refresh Your Math, Statistics, and Excel Skills.
Your work will be evaluated using the competencies listed below.
- 1.1: Organize document or presentation clearly in a manner that promotes understanding and meets the requirements of the assignment.
- 1.2: Develop coherent paragraphs or points so that each is internally unified and so that each functions as part of the whole document or presentation.
- 1.4: Tailor communications to the audience.
- 1.5: Use sentence structure appropriate to the task, message and audience.
- 1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
- 3.1: Identify numerical or mathematical information that is relevant in a problem or situation.
- 3.2: Employ mathematical or statistical operations and data analysis techniques to arrive at a correct or optimal solution.
- 3.3: Analyze mathematical or statistical information, or the results of quantitative inquiry and manipulation of data.
- 3.4: Employ software applications and analytic tools to analyze, visualize, and present data to inform decision-making.
- Step 1: Refresh Your Math, Statistics and Excel SkillsEveryone will begin this project with different background skills in math, statistics and Excel. Let’s start by thinking about what it means to engage in quantitative processes and the role these skills play in this project.Next, assess your current baseline by refreshing your skills in math, statistics, and Excel. You will choose how much you already know and where you need to concentrate more attention in order to complete this quantitative analysis project.After this refresher, you will create a spreadsheet based on the template provided in the next step.If you need help outside the classroom, register for the STAT 689 tutoring room (go to the Project 4 Discussion for registration information) in which you can access tutoring help and other resources to complete this project successfully. Help is free and immediate.
- Step 2: Set Up Your SpreadsheetNow that you’ve assessed and refreshed these important skills, you’re ready to begin. First download the Excel template and use it to set up your spreadsheet. This step has you set up a basic view in preparation for the use of several tools.After you’ve formatted and set up the basic view and saved it with your name, you’re ready to move to the next step and add data.
- Step 3: Add DataWith the spreadsheet set up and saved with your last name, you’re ready to add data. In Section 1 on the Data page, complete each column of the spreadsheet to arrive at the desired calculations.When you’re ready, move on to the next step, where you will use functions to summarize the data.
- Step 4: Use Functions to Summarize the DataWith the data built, you are ready to start using tools to summarize the data, using Countif and the Sum function to do the math. In this step, you’ll begin to see patterns in the data and the story of the workforce.Take a breather here if you need it. You should strive to work through the first four steps this week. Check in with your instructor.With this step complete, you’re ready to begin your analysis.
- Step 5: Analyze the WorkforceYou’ve summarized the data. Next, you will employ descriptive or summary statistics to analyze the workforce. Your summary tables described “how many.” Now you will calculate mean, median, and mode for the categories of data, and derive the deviation, variance, and dispersion, and distribution. This is where it gets interesting.You will be working in Section 3 of the Data tab in the spreadsheet to complete the descriptive statistics for the five categories (Salary, Hourly Rate, Years of Service, Education, and Age). Using Excel formulas, complete the table.After you have used Excel formulas to find this information, you will next use the Toolpak to find summary statistics.
- Step 6: Use the Analysis ToolpakYour data set is now built. Now, you will use the same functions to perform the Descriptive Analysis Using the Analysis Toolpak. This is a handy feature to know. Remember that there may be some minor differences in the answers depending on the version.You should now have Tab 2 complete: Excel Summary Stats. Next, you’ll create charts and a histogram for Tabs 3 and 4.
- Step 7: Create Charts and a HistogramWhere would we be without the ability to view data in charts? It is sometimes easier to grasp the context of data if it is captured in an image. In this step, you will work with data to create charts, adding a tab for charts, and another for a histogram.In this step, you will build Tab 3: Graphs—Charts and Tab 4: Histogram. After you complete these tabs, you’ll be ready to sort the data.
- Step 8: Copy and Sort the DataYou’ve accomplished a lot with the data set, summary stats, charts, and histograms. Another skill you’ll need to be able to do is sorting data in an Excel worksheet for reporting purposes. You’ll copy the data so that you can learn how to sort it. This is a good skill that applies to any Excel application.In this step, you will create Tab 5: Sorted Data. When you’re finished, you’ll be ready to conduct a quantitative analysis.See below for example of a sorted spreadsheet.Used with permission from Microsoft.Step 9: Conduct Quantitative AnalysisIn this step, your hard work bears fruit. What does it all mean? Think back to your boss’s reasons for tasking you with this project. Bring your powers of analysis to bear to determine what the data may be telling you. Apply your quantitative reasoning skills to answer five questions that demonstrate your interpretation of the data. The questions are located on the QR Questions_Responses tab in your workbook.After answering the five questions, finish the project by writing a short essay. The essay will include:
- a one-paragraph narrative summary of your findings, describing patterns of interest
- an explanation of the potential relevance of such patterns
- a description of how you would investigate further to determine if your results could be perceived as good or bad for the company.
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