Summative Assessment 2020/21
Summative assessment for the module is by means of a single report on your statistical analysis of data related to the National Basketball Association (NBA), a men’s professional basketball league in the USA.
This form of assessment has been chosen because as professional statisticians and data scientists, you will often be asked to investigate a data set and report on whether it contains anything useful or interesting. The assessment will also help you to prepare for writing your MSc dissertation in the summer.
Assessment type Weight Max. length Format Deadline
Report 100% 10 pages R Markdown and PDF Tue 09 Feb 2021
Your report will be assessed according to how well you are able to
Your analysis should be performed using the R statistical software package, and your report prepared using the R Markdown typesetting system and the template provided.
You are asked to write a report on data from the 2014–15 season of the National Basketball Association (NBA), a men’s professional basketball league in the USA. The data set is a record of all shots taken by players in the NBA between October 2014 and March 2015, and consists of 128,069 observations on 23 variables as described in Table 1.
Please submit your report in PDF format, together with the R Markdown file used to generate the report, through Learning Central sometime before 12.00 on Tuesday 09 February 2021.
|GAME_ID||Unique id number of the game.|
|DATE||Date of the game.|
|HOME_TEAM||Team playing at home.|
|AWAY_TEAM||Team playing away from home.|
|PLAYER_NAME||Name of the shooting player.|
|PLAYER_ID||Unique id number of the shooting player.|
|LOCATION||Whether the player was on the home (H) or away (A) team.|
|W||Whether the player’s team won (W) or lost (L) the game.|
|FINAL_MARGIN||The margin of victory for the player’s team (negative means defeat).|
|SHOT_NUMBER||The number of the shot taken by the shooting player in that game.|
|PERIOD||The period of the game that the shot was taken.|
|GAME_CLOCK||The time remaining in the period when the shot was taken.|
|SHOT_CLOCK||The time remaining on the shot clock.|
|DRIBBLES||Number of dribbles by the player before the shot was taken.|
|TOUCH_TIME||The time that the ball was in the shooting player’s hand.|
|SHOT_DIST||The distance of the shooting player from the basket.|
|PTS_TYPE||2 for shots from inside the arc, 3 for shots from outside the arc.|
|SHOT RESULT||Whether the shot was successful (‘made’) or unsuccessful ( ‘missed’ )|
|CLOSEST_DEFENDER||Name of the nearest defender when the shot was taken.|
|CLOSEST_DEFENDER_ID||Unique id number of the nearest defender.|
|CLOSE_DEF_DIST||Distance of the nearest defender when the shot was taken.|
|FGM||Equal to 1 if the shot was made (scored) otherwise 0.|
|PTS||The number of points scored (0, 2 or 3)|
Table 1: Description of the variables in the NBA shot logs data set.
|Atlanta Hawks Brooklyn Nets Boston Celts
Cleveland Cavaliers Dallas Mavericks
Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76 ers Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers Sacramento Kings
San Antonio Spurs
Table 2: Acronyms for the teams in the NBA.
The ability to write clearly and concisely is an important professional competence. To encourage writing that is brief and to the point, your reports are limited to a maximum of 10 pages. It is often far more difficult to express yourself in 100 words than in 1000 words, especially when you have a lot to say, so be careful not to underestimate the challenge posed by this restriction. The modest page limit will also encourage you to be selective in the results you choose to present.
A suggested structure for your report is shown in Table 3. Note that the title page, abstract, table of contents, list of references and appendix do not contribute towards the page count.
|Table of contents||–|
|1. Introduction||1/2 page|
|2. Background||1 page|
|3. (descriptive analysis)||2 pages|
|4. (inferential analysis)||2–3 pages|
|5. (inferential analysis)||2–3 pages|
|6. (inferential analysis)||2–3 pages|
|7. Conclusion||1/2 page|
|Appendices||2 pages max.|
Table 3: Suggested report structure
Detailed assessment criteria are shown in Table 4.
|Hypotheses are interesting and original. Methods are appropriate and applied carefully and precisely.
An interesting descriptive analysis is included and reported correctly.
|Inferences are valid and supported by evidence. Original and interesting conclusions are articulated. There is some shrewd speculation about possible causal factors.||A high standard of writing is maintained throughout. The narrative is clear, coherent, eloquent and refined. Figures and tables are used creatively.|
|Hypotheses are formulated correctly. Methods are appropriate and applied correctly. A moderately interesting descriptive analysis is included and reported correctly.||Inferences are valid and supported by evidence. Interesting conclusions are articulated. There is some speculation about possible causal factors.||A good standard or writing is maintained throughout. The narrative is clear and coherent. Figures and tables are used to illustrate the narrative.|
|Hypotheses are formulated correctly. Methods are applied correctly for the most part. A descriptive analysis is included and reported correctly.||Inferences are mostly valid and supported by some evidence.
Some relatively interesting conclusions are articulated.
|An acceptable standard of writing is maintained throughout. The narrative is lacklusture and sometimes unclear. Figures and tables do not always illustrate the narrative.|
|Fail (0–49)||The analysis is bland and almost entirely descriptive.||Inferences are invalid or not supported by evidence. There is little of any interest.||The report is poorly written. The narrative is disjointed and hard to follow.|
Table 4: Assessment criteria
You may find existing studies of the NBA data set online. Plagiarism is to present other people’s work or ideas as your own, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. The need to acknowledge others’ work applies not only to text, but also to computer code, figures, tables etc. You must also attribute text, data, or other resources downloaded from websites. Following submission your report will be analysed by the TurnitIn software, and any report in which plagiarism is detected will receive a mark of zero.
Guidelines for writing reports
The golden rule when writing is to always think of the reader. For scientific reports, readers will typically want to read something interesting and learn something in the process.
What do we mean by interesting?
|Not interesting||The average exam mark of statistics and data science students.|
|Quite interesting||The average mark of male students, the average mark of female students, and the results of a test of whether any difference is statistically significant.|
|Very interesting||The average mark of male students, the average mark of female students, a statistical test of whether any difference is significant, and some speculation about why there is a significant difference, or alternatively why there is not.|
Audience. The target audience for your report is this year’s cohort students on the Foundations of Statistics and Data Science module, so you can assume that your readers are familiar with the methods and terminology established within the lectures and notebooks. If you choose to use methods that have not been covered in lectures, you must ensure that any new terms are properly defined and references to the relevant literature included.
Analysis. The reader shoud be satisfied that you have performed your analysis correctly, and in particular that you have verified the conditions that are necessary to apply the various methods. Your methods should be introduced with a brief summary of their main features, but technical details should not be discussed at length although you might consider providing the interested reader with references to the relevant literature.
Navigation. Do not assume that the reader will read the report from start to finish, as one might read a novel. Reports should be made easy to navigate using numbered sections and subsections together with cross-referencing. Once you have written a first draft, it will need careful editing before it becomes a coherent and polished report. This stage always takes longer than you think!
Scientific writing. For scientific reports we aim for a style of writing that is clear and concise. Make sure that sentences are unambiguous and that a good standard of writing is maintained throughout the report.
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