Mathematical ideas area all around us, but few of us dig deep enough into them to fully understand how they apply. Beyond counting, collecting data, using logical reasoning, crunching numbers, or using software programs, there is a layer of mathematics just below the surface. You will choose one of the five given topics to explore mathematics more deeply.
Upon successful completion of this course, you decide to analyze one of five topics as a consultant. You are told that the project will give you full credit and a promotion if you have a thorough analysis. You must use any information or names provided.
Your objective is to provide a written report that explains the context of the case, an analysis of the problem, graphs that represent the information provided, an explanation of the calculations used, and a presentation of your results. As the consultant, you will provide a cover page, report, conclusion, recommendations, references, and an appendix with data or supporting information.
Your goal, and the purpose of this assignment, is to compile all pertinent information into one report. We will use George Polya’s Four-Step Method for Problem Solving (Chapter 1):
1. Understand the Problem
2. Devise a Plan
3. Carry Out the Plan
4. Look Back and Check
In order to organize this, an outline is provided. The assignment is broken down into four parts: Situation Analysis, Compilation of Research, Data, or Other Pertinent Information, Problem Solving Related to this Situation, and Conclusion/Recommendations.
While, in actuality, this may be a final project for this class, these projects can pay thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollarsin an actual work situation. Why? We present analyses order to improve businesses, medicine, business, crime rates, or society. You will explain your calculations and symbolic operations in order to interpret social and economic trends for this project.
A cover page, reference page, and appendix are required. The appendix comes at the end of the paper and should include, at a minimum, data from a newspaper/journal article, research study, university/corporate report, or national data set. Put this in Appendix 1. Your cover page must have your name, title of the paper, type of assignment project, course name/number, university name, term of enrollment, and optional picture that represents the study you are conducting. You will put the graphs you create in Part 2 and Part 3, although outside graphs and charts will go in the body of the paper too. Label all graphs and charts Figure 1, Figure 2 or Table 1, Table 2 or Chart 1, Chart 2 or Graph 1, Graph 2. For example, Figure 1: Growth of Pea Plants with Varying Amounts of Fertilizer.Your reference page must have a minimum of two references outside of the textbook or materials in this class. You must have three in text citations within your paper. Other appendices might include graphs or charts from outside sources, although some of these should be in the body of the paper in order to present your findings so that the reader can see what you are conveying.
Part 1: Primary Situation Analysis (3 – 4 paragraphs):
1. Before you can examine the data, you must understand the problem. Your first two paragraphs should discuss the importance of this issue or situation. You need a minimum of two references (minimum of 3 in text citations) that present the history, background, or underlying ideas in order to frame the discussion. You must cite your sources and put a minimum of two references in the reference page outside of the textbook.
Your next two paragraphs should introduce the company/organization and why it is important to them. Please include:
a. The basic question you, as the researcher, want to address.
b. A description of the historical and practical context, variables, units, and example/application to the real world.
c. The problems you might encounter with missing variables or information.
d. A minimum of two references to outside sources such as data from a newspaper/journal article, research study, university/corporate report, or national data set.
e. One or more graphs, charts, images to give the reader a visual understanding of the background of the topic.
f. The issue’s importance to the readers
g. A description of the information you must collect and how it relates to the big picture of social and economic trends.
Part 2: Compilation of Research, Data, or Other Pertinent Information (3 – 4 paragraphs)
2. Your next step is to collect and organize information. The research you collect will be included in part 2. Since each study is different, you will compile whatever you need to analyze your situation. You will describe and accurately compute symbolic operations. This part of the study will include:
a. Data, calculations, and other quantitative and qualitative information.
b. Graphs and charts should be presented to explain your specific research or company situation.
c. Additional elements of the actual data that supports your research or company situation
d. An explanation about how the data/information you collected fits into the big picture, like social and economic factors.
Part 3: Problem Solving Related to this Situation (2 – 4 paragraphs)
3. Assuming that all assumptions have been met, it is now time for you to conduct some analysis. You might want to add some statistical data like measures of the center, distribution, skewness, correlation, probability, or hypotheses.
a. Describe the assumptions you made.
b. Analyze the information you collected and determine if your data supportsthe research you have done.
c. Connect your research findings to the research you collected in Part 1 and to the real world setting you presented in Part 2.
d. Going back to the problem, what did you determine is best for your company, organization, or issue?
Part 4: Conclusion and Recommendations(2 – 4 paragraphs)
4. Use your research to interpret and explain the information you collected. Consider your project in terms of social and economic factors.
a. What can you infer?
b. What information might lead you to a different conclusion?
c. What variables are missing?
d. What additional information would be valuable to help draw a more certain conclusion?
e. What are your recommendations?
f. What follow up study might be helpful?
Hint: This is your conclusion, but it is also a window to further research and analysis.
Final Comments Before you Begin
Computers and calculators are good at yielding results, but such results typically require the careful interpretation that breathes life into an otherwise meaningless set of information and outcomes. We should recognize that a result is not automatically valid simply because it was computer-generated. Computers do not think, even though they crunch out results.
The key in this study is to have this research project make sense in the context of the real world. So be sure to criticize, analyze, and connect the information to the question to be answered in a clear way.