The purposes of the data exercises are to:
- Enhance your skills at finding current economic data on the web;
- Improving your skills at data presentation and explanation;
- Provide you the opportunity to learn how to analyze economic data and, very importantly, to explain what it means – in short, turning data into useful information; and,
- How to present that to a reader in a clear and understandable form.
For Data Exercises 1 and 2:
- You will select two related economic variables that you have studied during the relevant weeks;
- Find appropriate data on both variables;
- Present that data in a clear graphic or tabular form (or both if appropriate);
- Explain what the data shows – discuss/explain the data;
- Explain what the data means – give meaning to what the data shows; and.
- And explain why it matters – what is the economic importance or usefulness of what you found in your data analysis and discussion.
Points 4 and 5 initially seem to be about the same thing and they are close in meaning. Point 4 is the process of walking the reader through the data presented in the table or graphic. Point 5 is explaining to the reader what that data means. In other words, tell the reader what the data is and explain what it means. Remember this is a process of giving meaning to data. Standing alone, data is just numbers. Your task is to give those numbers a context and a meaning that converts numbers into information.
For Data Exercises 1 and 2, you get to select the variables you want to examine. For Data Exercise 3, the instructions specify the variables to be examined (you have a limited choice). After the variables have been identified, the process is the same.
Points to Remember:
- Stay calm, this is actually a fun assignment and a great learning experience and it is not as daunting as it first appears;
- You have to have real world data; i.e., numbers;
- You have to have citations in the body of your report;
- Tables and graphics need a citation immediately following the table or graphic, if you create the table or graphic then the citation is to the source of the data; and,
- You need references at the end of the report.
- Upload your report in MS Word format (.doc or .docx), if you use another format ask before uploading to be sure I can open it;
- Double space the paper;
- Have a title page;
- Have a reference page;
- Excluding the title and reference pages, the report should be 3 – 5 pages; and,
- If you use an appendix, that would be in addition to the 3-5 pages.
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