This project is intended to give you an opportunity to explore data visualization with Tableau and Excel, and work with a larger data set than is typical for textbook exercises.

Using the US Census’s American Community Survey or Oregon PUMS data discussed in Week 1 module, use the data dictionary, Excel and Tableau (or Tableau Public)  to find an “interesting” story. Basically, find a relationship in the data that you find interesting, amusing, frightening, or concerning.


Learning Objectives

  • Clean and manipulate data to prepare for an analysis.
  • Translate a data dictionary.  
  • Use software to create an appropriate data visualization. 
  • Describe the data in context to tell a data story. 


Steps and Prep

Data File: OregonPUMS.csv  Download OregonPUMS.csv                 Data Dictionary: PUMSDataDict15.pdf Download PUMSDataDict15.pdf

  • Download the dataset. Open the dataset in Excel or Tableau 
  • Open the data dictionary and view page 32 to see the start of the personal record variable names and descriptions. 
  • Choose some variables to compare for a multivariate visual display. 
  • Watch the example videos from the lessons this week Week 2 – Lessons and Video Lectures
  • Create your visualizations. 


Requirements and Scoring 

Tell a "data story".

  • Find two or more variables in the PUMS data set.
  • (20 points) Create a data visualization (or set of data visualizations) that illustrate a story.
    • Your data visualizations may be simple like a scatterplot or more ambitious like a geographical visualizations or animated charts. 
    • Complete this twice, once using Excel and again using Tableau Public. Paste both plots into the document. 
  • Consider which of the two graphs is strongest. 
    • (5 points) Under your stronger plot, write a few sentences reflecting on whether your graph follows the advice for graphs offered by your textbook (data ink ratio/labels/etc). See Chapter 3 Camm et al.  
    • (15 points) Then write a short summary (roughly ½ page) illustrating your story.
  • (5 points) Compare the experience with both software tools. Write a few sentences about which you preferred and why. 
  • (5 points) Formatting
    • (1 point) Include a title page.
    • (2 points) Follow academic writing conventions and write in a professional tone.
    • (2 points) Correct spelling and grammar.  
    • (No points but required for grading)
      • Paste your graphs in the document to be inline with the text. In other words, do not split your projects across multiple files: graphs should be integrated with text inside the document.
      • Save as a word document or .pdf file 

Data Warning - Be careful about the "Person’s Weight" variable.  This does not mean "how much this person weighs" it means "how much weight to assign this person’s answers."  If you’re curious (not required) you can read about statistical weighting here: http://www.applied-survey-methods.com/weight.html (Links to an external site.).


Peer Reviews and Deadlines

All due dates in Week 2 by 11:59PM PST 

  • Original submission made by Wednesday 
    • If you miss the original submission due date you will not be eligible for peer reviews nor will you be able to review your peers. You may still submit for instructor grading by Sunday. 
  • Peer Reviews 
    • At least 1 peer will "grade" and provide feedback on your work by the end of the day on Friday.  Review the feedback, make adjustments. 
    • You will do the same for at least 2 peers. 
  • Resubmit by Sunday.
    • If you choose not to resubmit your work, the original submission will be graded by the instructor within 1 week. 
  • Rubric Scoring
    • Scores are based on the point values in the instructions and rubric below. 

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