Hindsight is 20/20

Piggybacking on Glenn’s idea to reflect on presenting and going with the theme of “We made all the mistakes for you,” I’m going to post two things that everyone could use.

1) Be organized- I’ve always used notecards with a brief outline on them, I suggest this to everyone, it helped me a lot. My notecards were more in depth than my powerpoint slides.

2) Know your topic- The sole advantage to going on the first day was that I had just finished writing my paper on Saturday, so the topic was fresh on my mind. The morning before I presented, I went through my paper and notes one last time as a last second refresher.


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Tips for presenting / Things I wish I did better

1. Go to the speaking center. I know that some of you probably think that you don’t need to go (I know that I definitely felt that I fell into that category… truth be told, I kind of only ended up going because I was able to piggyback going for this assignment onto another group project appointment that I was doing.)

So why should you go? Easy. I can almost guarantee you all that you’re missing something small… something that you just totally forgot. I, for instance, forgot to state my thesis until 7 minutes into my presentation. The speaking center guy was like: “Bro, thesis statements go in the beginning of your presentation? And I was like: “Oh yeah.” So that was cool… and probably helped my presentation be slightly less… bad… right? RIGHT?

2. Pictures > Text. At least, on your Powerpoint slides. Professor Greenlaw spoke about this, but I believe it could definitely use some reiterating… because I know that I always finding myself filling slides up with quotes.

3. Practice your presentation with friends. I didn’t really do this… and I think that it may have showed. Practice always makes perfect, it will help with timing, and it will probably help you find more of those small mistakes.

4. Ask for help if you’re struggling with reading regressions.

But yeah, I kinda wish I was better at doing those things. *sigh*

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Almost there!

As you all know from your own research projects, this is a very tedious process. I have been driving myself crazy trying to get this out of the way once and for all. This is taking a lot out of me and I just want it to be over and done with. I am finishing putting everything together for my rough draft and I will be the happiest person on this campus in a few hours when I finally finish this draft once and for all!

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Finishing Up

As I am finishing my paper and throwing in final touches, I feel as though I have taken something so interesting as the application of entropy and oversimplified it so that I can actually do my project. I have no elegant derivation for my specific application, just a nice, simple method. But I guess that’s what I get for doing a topic that I have no previous experience with.

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Of course…

Throughout this semester I’ve been having difficulty finding data for my topics. I ended up having to give up on a topic that I really enjoyed and had already done a considerable amount of research and writing for because there was insufficient data. There was one week where I juggled a couple different topics before I settled on my current one because I knew I’d be able to test it — that was a month ago. Every data set from past studies I’ve looked at has cost money, or time, to get access to, so I had settled for okay data.

As I’ve been finalizing my rough draft and rereading published articles on the subject, I decided to look into one more database to see if it was open source. I wasn’t expecting it to be at all; I just wanted to look into it some more. Turns out… it is! Of course. I’m not sure whether I should be excited because I have better data or disappointed because now I have to redo all my regressions and the analysis-ception of the regressions (as James put it). At least I know my paper will be better in the end.

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Making Data “Sexy” and Waiting for it

So James’ comment in class the other day made me (and Sophia) think about a poster in my high school IB Econ class. Our teacher had it up all year and for Valentine’s day that year she had us create pick up lines with econ terms (which turned out to be extremely entertaining and occasionally disturbing). I attached a picture of the poster because Sophia and I both immediately remembered it when James mentioned making our data sexy. The poster and quote are pretty great:

Economists do it with models

On another note, I’m putting the finishing touches on my paper and worrying about if I’ll ever get the data I requested from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). I requested about a week or two ago yearly data about the waiting list for patients needing a kidney. I’m frustrated because this is something I would love to include in my model but obviously can’t do without the actual data.  Hopefully I’ll be getting the data soon so I can include it in the final, but I might have to do without it! I’m also struggling with the regression results and what exactly they’re telling me, but I’m hoping to get help with that this week since I won’t be as busy as I was last week.

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Analysis of Regression Analysis…? Analysis-ception? Analysis of an analysis!

Like most of you, I’m sitting down and doing some serious rough draft writing this weekend.  I sat down with the Dr. Greenlaw on Friday, and he taught me how to mess around with E-Views.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought, but my results were a bit off at first, so I decided to mess with them a little.  I initially tried messing with the variables that I entered.  I got satisfactory results the first time, although it disproved my initial hypothesis, but I figured that I would try different angles instead of just taking one result as “word-of-law”.

I got similar results when I swapped out “Total Quantity” with “Quantity of Men” or “Quantity of Women”, so I tried a different angle altogether.  I went into my data spreadsheet (after making a copy of it of course) and deleted seven different “Outliers”, meaning races that either 1). were too long that the general public were unwilling/unable to participate, or 2).  That had an ABSURDLY high quantity of runners, or an absurdly high price, or an absurdly high number of “years held” due to other variables that I couldn’t gather data for.  These outliers were most likely influenced by other variables that I could not get data for/could not put into a regression analysis.  Removing these skewed attributes changed things.

My regression results went from having the “Number of years held” variable being the only statistically significant one (having a P value of below 0.05), to having “Price” be the significant variable, AS WELL AS “Number of years held”.  My Standard of Error also dropped from over 300 to 112, meaning that the error off of my “Line of best fit” is approximately 120 people per race, which is not a terrible margin of error. This is a pretty big spread, but I expected this, because I’m dealing with human behavior and not everything is perfect when it comes to that.  My R-Squared also jumped about 16 percent, going from around 12% to around 28%, which, for cross-section data, is considered within acceptable range.

I’m doing more research into the meanings of all the many other listed statistics about my regression, because I know the P value and R-Squared are not the only important ones.  My Durbin-Watson (measure of auto-correlation) dropped from just around 2.0 to 1.8, but it isn’t dropping towards 1.0 at all, which I’m counting as a good thing, meaning that none of my variables are auto-correlated.

Now that I have deleted my outliers, I find that my hypothesis is actually correct, and that I am on the right track for actually writing my paper!  Which I will do tomorrow, fueled by Caffeine and Willpower!

Current Mood:                                     Super_Grover


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3AM Friday

Yeah…I feel like all of my proffessors get together and decide to make everything due on the same day as well as have exams on the same days. Why am I up at 3am? Am I partying…obviously not. Has my 7 month old son woken up and I have to care for him… thankfully no knock on wood. Am I up with so much excitement to turn in my long waited research paper…of course not. I am up still trying to figure out how to put my bdf into E-views. Have I just now started this because I am a slacker…NO. Ive been trying to figure this out before there was an in-class demonstration. At this point I feel as though my thousands of data point would better be done by my hand. I would’ve at least been done by now though maybe carpal tunnel may have set in. After completing two other semester-long assignments due tomorrow I have come back to this god forsaken research that I desperately want to be done with. I am so close. I know how to interpret the data… I just need to not be so lost when it comes to inputing my data. Its as if I cant push enter on the calculator. So….this is where I am. 3am the morning that this research assignment is due and feeling as though I epically fail at life because all the tools are right in front of me and I’m trying to screw in a lightbulb with a hammer.

End of rant and back to the lightbulb.

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So today, I spent eight hours outside.

Now, I’m not trying to say that copious, nonstop work is a bad thing… not really anyway. But breaks are important, and I think that taking time away from writing one’s rough draft in order to get some fresh air can be beneficial in the long run… Honestly, I don’t have much else to say about this. I just really like the outdoors, and want to like, tell everyone… anyway… back to writing my rough draft…

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Monday Funday

Here is sneak peek for my amazing Monday presentation. Apparently things are a lot worse than I thought. The more I research the less I want to eat anything that I didn’t grow myself. Today I learned that on average in the year 2000 American’s consumed about 32 teaspoons (adjusted for waste) of added sugars per person per day. You might be thinking that is sick, but how bad could it really be? The amount of added again added sugars an average American’s should be consuming is only 10 teaspoons, that’s the same amount in just one 12-ounce softdrink. I didn’t even know the recommended amounts of nutrition people should be eating per day until I started this project. The scary thing is that added sugars can be found in just about anything you eat,  from boxed rice to canned veggies. Anyways, I hope you are all significantly interested in my presentation now! See you Monday.

-Scott McPeek

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