Using Analytic Techniques to Add Meaning to Data

Download data on a company’s stock history. From this data, create scatterplots, histograms, and calculate the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation of some data points. Write a 5 page report including the graphs and descriptive statistics you have created.

Business analytics techniques are used to facilitate decision making by transforming large amounts of raw data into meaningful information. Many businesses rely on analysis of relevant historical data to make key strategic and operational decisions. Therefore, understanding how to use techniques such as graphical representation and descriptive statistics to translate raw data into useful information can be a valuable skill in an organization.

In this assessment and the next, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your analytics skills by locating and interpreting real-life stock data.

You have been learning about how to explore data. In this assessment, you will apply those skills by downloading a practical dataset and creating graphical representations of that data. The work you do in this assessment will lay the foundation for future assessments in which you analyze and interpret those graphical representations. Since the purpose of business analytics is to make sense of large quantities of raw data, this assessment helps you develop skills in applying analytics to business contexts by practicing the exploration and display of data.

In addition to graphical and tabular summary methods, numeric or quantitative variables and data can be summarized numerically using various techniques of description and display.

Descriptive methods, which describe existing data, are also methods for using a subset of the available data to estimate or test a theory about a measurement on a larger group. This larger group is called the population, and the measurement being studied is the parameter. The smaller group, or subset, of the population that is taken in order to make an inference (to make an estimate or test a theory) is referred to as the sample. The measurement taken on that sample is then referred to as the statistic, which is usually the best single-number estimate for the population parameter of interest. Most often, however, the estimate should not be restricted to a single number that would be exactly correct or incorrect. Instead, it is preferable to calculate some range of possible values between which there can be a certain percent confidence that the true population parameter falls. These are referred to as confidence intervals.

Scenario

Business analytics techniques are used to facilitate decision making by transforming large amounts of raw data into meaningful information. Many businesses rely on analysis of relevant historical data to make key strategic and operational decisions with the goal of gaining or maintaining competitive advantage. Therefore, understanding how to use techniques such as graphical representation and descriptive statistics to translate raw data into useful information can be a valuable skill in an organization.

In this assessment and the next, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your analytics skills by locating and interpreting real-life stock data, creating a business report, and presenting the information from the business report with your supervisor and colleagues as part of a decision-making effort.

Your Role

You are a member of a business analyst group interested in a publicly traded company. Your supervisor has asked you to create a presentation, including graphical representations from raw stock data. From that raw stock data, you are to create a business report for a company-wide meeting at the end of the quarter. Your work and the work of others will result in a Business Report, which will be utilized to help company leadership make decisions.

Your first task is to pick a publicly held company with only one business platform. So do not pick Apple, Amazon, Disney, et cetera. You want a company that plays in only one industry. Then you are to provide an overview of the company, including business context. Remember that business context includes many aspects of the company, industry, competition, et cetera.

The second task is prepping stock history data from the business or company and creating scatter plots and a histograms.

The third task is to calculate mean, median, mode, and standard deviation of the adjusted daily closing stock price and the stock volume.

The fourth task is to provide a summary of the information you provide (including data analysis) without bias and with factual information including citations.

It is your responsibility to present visually and to interpret the data into meaningful information using analysis and descriptive statistics.

Instructions

Select a publicly traded business or stock that plays in only one industry in which you have interest. Download the raw data on the company’s stock history.

Follow these steps to locate and download stock history from Yahoo! Finance:

Go to Yahoo Finance.

Search for and find the stock information of your chosen company. Remember do not use a company that plays in multiple industries.

Once you pull up the general data on the company, review the screen links throughout until you find the link for Historical Data. Click on the Historical Data link. Then select the following settings above the table:

Select Time Period of one year.

Select “Historical Prices.”

Select Frequency as “Daily.”

Click Apply.

Click Download Data. Go to the bottom of your screen or your Downloads folder to open the Excel file you just downloaded. Open the Excel file. Check to be sure that you have enough lines to show the whole year. If not, reset the settings at the top of the Historical Data chart and try again.

Once you are sure that you have a year’s worth of data, save the Excel file.

Using the Excel file with the year’s stock data, conduct descriptive analysis as follows:

Create a scatter plot of the highest stock price (in the column labeled “High”) against time. Write several sentences explaining the process/steps by which you created this graph.

Create a scatter plot of the lowest stock price (in the column labeled “Low”) against time. Write several sentences explaining the process/steps by which you created this graph.

Create a histogram of the adjusted daily closing stock price (in the column labeled “Adj Close”). Make sure the histogram is meaningful by adjusting the bin size so you can see the shape of the histogram. Write several sentences explaining the process/steps by which you created this graph.

Create a histogram of the stock trading volume (in the column labeled “Volume”). Make sure the histogram is meaningful by adjusting the bin size so you can see the shape of the histogram. Write several sentences explaining the process/steps by which you created each graph.

Complete the following for each of the four graphs:

Make sure the x and y axis have appropriate labels—“Stock Price in USD” or “Date D/M/Y” for example.

Change the title of the graph to communicated what the graph is communicating.

Add options—color, trendlines, legend, other?

Calculate the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation of the adjusted daily closing stock price.

Put answers of calculations in table format for easy review.

Write several sentences explaining the process by which you calculated these statistics.

Calculate the mean, median, mode, and standard deviation of the stock volume. Put in table format for easy review. Write a sentence explaining the process by which you calculated these statistics.

Prepare a 5-8 page report that you would present to your supervisor, including the following:

An APA-formatted title page.

A 1-2 page introduction describing the background of your chosen company and its practical extensive business context. You should use at least four sources of information on the company, industries the company participates in, history, mission, platforms, products, competitive advantage, and competitors by industry.

A section labeled Graphical Representations of Data, in which you include the four graphs you created above and short descriptions of the process you used to create each graph.

A section labeled Descriptive Statistics, in which you include the statistics you calculated above and explanation of the procedures you followed to calculate the statistics.

A summary of what the data suggests. No opinion please. See textbook information on how to interpret data. Please remain unbiased in your summary. You may use additional resources (and cite) to help you interpret the data. For example: What does Standard Deviation say about stock volatility?

Your paper should be APA-formatted with in-text citations and a corresponding references page. Remember to cite the sources of your financial data. Include at least four sources of information for your page and reflect on reference page.

Walkthrough: You may view the following media piece to help you understand concepts addressed in this assessment:

Using Analytic Techniques to Add Meaning to Data Walkthrough.

Additional Requirements

Length: 5, double-spaced. Include a title page and the graphical representations of the data selected.

Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.

Evaluation

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies through corresponding scoring guide criteria:

Competency 2: Use analytic and statistical techniques to make meaning of large quantities of data.

Create four different graphical representations of data.

Calculate descriptive statistics for two different variables.

Summarize the processes by which each graph and statistics were created and calculated.

Competency 4: Present the results of data analysis in clear and meaningful ways to multiple stakeholders.

Introduce the company and practical business context.

Correctly format citations and references using current APA style.

Write content clearly and logically with correct use of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.