CS 795/895 - Information Visualization
Fall 2011: Thurs 9:30am-12:15pm, E&CS 2120

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Tableau's data visualization software is provided through the Tableau for Teaching program.

Homework 1: Data Exploration and Analysis

Assigned: Sep 1, 2011
Due: Sep 8, 2011


Explore and analyze a data set without using an information visualization system.

Data Set

Faculty Salaries from 1992 - http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/DASL/Datafiles/FacultySalaries.html


Import, explore, and analyze this data using Excel or simply by hand (drawing pictures is fine), but do not use any visualization tools beyond Excel graphing. Your goal here is to perform an exploratory analysis of the data set, to better understand the data set and its characteristics, and to develop insights about the data.

  1. List five "insights" (chunks of knowledge or deeper questions) that you either encountered or gained while exploring the data. An insight could be some understanding of the data and its characteristics that is not relatively obvious or intuitive. An insight may also simply be a deeper question that arose in your mind while exploring the data. Your analysis may not have been sufficient to answer the question, or you may not have enough information in the data set to answer the question.
  2. Write one paragraph about the process you used to do the exploration and analysis. Did you load the data into Excel, work manually, or do both? What did you do in Excel? Did you draw pictures? Just tell me (briefly) what you did.
  3. Write one paragraph about challenges or problems that you encountered in doing the analysis this way. Did anything limit or frustrate you? If nothing did, perhaps there was something that was more difficult than you thought it should be. Nothing is perfect, so you should be able to list some potential issues here.


Turn-in a hard-copy at the beginning of class on the due date.


I will evaluate the quality of the insights you listed. I'm looking for things that are interesting or perhaps unexpected. This is subjective. For the second and third parts, I'll evaluate if you did what the assignment asked.

Based on homework from John Stasko, Georgia Tech