6. Choosing a Project
Students may pick any project at all to analyze. However, it is strongly recommended that you pick an organization or company you are familiar with and analyze a project in that organization. By picking a familiar project you can ask for and obtain realistic data.
You may pick yourself as the organization. That is, you may pick the remodeling of your basement if you wish. In some ways, it is much better to pick small projects than large corporate projects from your professional work. It is difficult for us to assess what part you actually played in a very large project.
Using a known organization also shortens the learning curve. Students should resist the temptation to select large, famous projects (such as Boston's Big Dig). While such projects have mountains of data available, they can be overwhelming. Also, it is difficult to say something that has not been said before.
You may pick a project that has not started (new), one that is ongoing, or one that has been completed (historical). The requirements and outline will vary somewhat depending on what type of project you choose. How you approach the recommendations will also vary.
Avoid the temptation to write pages describing the project. Ruthlessly concentrate on your own analysis. Assume the audience knows about the project and is primarily interested in your analysis.
7. General Guidelines
During the course, we will talk about your projects. I will provide constructive feedback, and answer any questions you have. I will advise you on whether you appear to be proceeding in the right direction, and ensure that your project is feasible. If in doubt, ask!
An important aspect of the project is that there needs to be a significant contribution from a data analysis.
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