Individual exercises to help test your understanding and knowledge of key areas of text. Complete them to see your strengths and weaknesses.

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One of the key learning outcomes of this chapter is to enable you to think about whether you need to use statistical analysis software and the most appropriate ways to use these kinds of programmes. In other words, this chapter is all about understanding what such programmes offer and highlighting the need to understand the purpose of using statistical analysis software.

Exercise: what can MINITAB and SPSS offer me?

In groups, read through the following scenario of a potential research project and then try to answer the questions that follow:

Understanding travel to work

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Imagine you are commissioned as a group of consultants to undertake a project which aims to understand the travel behaviours of employees at Melchett’s Widget Factory in Atown. Many employees currently drive to the factory. However, there is limited parking available and the company wants to promote low carbon travel, such as walking, cycling and public transport use. The objectives of the project are to undertake a questionnaire amongst the employees at the factory which will collect quantitative data to:

  1. Describe the daily travel behaviours of employees working at the factory;
  2. Explain the factors that underlie these travel behaviours;
  3. Explore the extent to which travel distance to work relates to choice of travel mode;
  4. Develop a framework for classifying different types of employee according to their travel behaviours so that policies to promote behaviour change can be targeted at the right people.

Questions to address:

  1. Think about what each objective is asking you to do as a group and be clear about what you’ve been asked to address in the survey;
  2. What kinds of data would you need to collect and how would you do this? For example, you might want to discuss the kinds of factors might influence travel mode choices of employees;
  3. Think about how you would like to represent the data for each objective. What might the differences be between how you would represent the data between the objectives? What visual aids might you need and how could MINITAB and SPSS assist you in representing the data for each objective?
  4. Using the material in this chapter, list the types of analyses you might want to undertake to address each objective. To answer each objective, think about what evidence you’d need to produce and how MINITAB or SPSS could help you to do this;
  5. What additional information would you need to gain from the company about their expectations for the survey? In other words, what other questions might you want to ask in your research and how could MINITAB and SPSS help you to enrich your project?