Big Data: Questions – key to Data Modeling and Data Analysis

April 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An interesting experiment took place in class today.  The class was finishing up their presentations on Big Data. One team picked up music. Theirs was more of a report. Based on their research, they reported that music among teens is very popular. Teens listen to music for two reasons: one to fit in among their peers and another to help them deal with the challenges of being a teenager. Finding this to be very interesting I asked my students how many used music to help them deal with their day-to-day problems. At least four heads nodded silently.

Moving on, I asked the team to put up questions to find out why teens listened to music. The students came up with the following three questions:

  • Music & coping
  • Music to keep self – entertained
  • Music because of interest

Results: (Class size 22)
I – 0

II –  12

III- 10

Now, I can tell you honestly, very often when I am upset, I listen to music to calm myself. It should be quite safe to assume that this is true for most people. But it was very surprising to see that not one student chose music and coping!  One student turned towards me and said that he did not need music to ‘cope’ because he had a good home life. The students had interpreted the word “cope” to mean handle conflict!

I am willing to bet if (I) had been labeled Music to Motivate or Music to feel Good rather than Music & Coping, the number tally would be very different.

It is important to note that the design of the questions is probably the most important aspect of the data mining projects.

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