Coursework for Analysis SL students

Many Analysis SL students will choose to do a data analysis investigation, (though you can choose to explore other parts of the syllabus instead).  To get good marks make sure you carefully follow the marking criteria points given by the IB and try and personalise your investigation as much as possible.  Be innovative, choose something you are interested in and enjoy it!

Primary or Secondary data? 

The main benefit of primary data is that you can really personalise your investigation.  It allows you scope to investigate something that perhaps no-one else has ever done.  It also allows you the ability to generate data that you might not be able to find online.  The main drawback is that collecting good quality data in sufficient quantity to analyze can be time consuming.    You should aim for at least 50 pieces of data to give yourself a good amount of data to look at.

The benefits of secondary data are that you can gain access to good quality raw data on topics that you wouldn’t be able to collect data on personally – and it’s also much quicker to get the data.  Potential drawbacks are not being able to find the raw data that fits what you  want to investigate – or sometimes having too much data to wade through.

Useful programs/sites for data collection:

1) If you are interested in the environment, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has collected a large amount of environmental data for use.

2) If you like football you can also find a lot of football stats on the Who Scored website.  This gives you data on things like individual players’ shots per game, pass completion rate etc.

3) The World Bank has a huge data bank – which you can search by country or by specific topic.  You can compare life-expectancy rates, GDP, access to secondary education, spending on military, social inequality, how many cars per 1000 people and much much more.

4) Gapminder is another great resource for comparing development indicators – you can plot 2 variables on a graph (for example urbanisation against unemployment, or murder rates against urbanisation) and then run them over a number of years. You can also download Excel speadsheets of the associated data.

5) Wolfram Alpha is one of the most powerful maths and statistics tools available – it has a staggering amount of information that you can use.  

6) Plotly is a great visual graphic site – you can create visually interesting infographics and analyse data from hundreds of other sources.

7) TSM – the Technology for Secondary  Mathematics is something of an internet dinosaur – but has a great deal of downloadable data files on everything from belly-button ratios to lottery number analysis and baby weights.

 8) Google Public Data – an enormous source for public data, which is displayed graphically and can be searched.

9) Nationmaster – another huge site with pretty much any statistic and data comparing countries.  Currently they have 19 million data points!

 10) Desmos – a great online graphing site

11) Geogebra – another very powerful graphing application (also does 3D)

 12) Tracker software will allow you to track data from a video and then produce graphs.