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Glossary

We have included this Glossary for reference – you are not expected to remember all the new terms.

You can refer to the Glossary throughout the course by returning to this step or by accessing the PDF version of the Glossary which is available in the Downloads.

If you come across any other words that you would like us to add to the Glossary, please add them to the Comments. These can then be added for the next time we run the course.

Click the pink hyperlink letters displayed below to jump to alphabetical sections of the Glossary.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

algorithm

A set of steps, rules or a process applied to data by a computer programme in order to solve a problem or answer a question.
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B

BI / business intelligence

Data generated, processed and analysed by a business that tell you what has happened or is currently happening.

big data

Data sets that contain huge volumes of complex unstructured data that changes fast, and which are hard to process with traditional data analysis methods.

business analytics

Using data and measurements to spot trends and predict the future outcomes of business decisions.
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C

cloud computing, ‘the cloud’

Using computers and systems remotely; software that runs on servers in data centres rather than locally on your laptop. For example, Google documents is a word processor that runs ‘in the cloud’.

correlation

A relationship between two pieces of data which implies they are connected in some way.
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D

data

A collection of facts, information or measurements held in a form that is suitable for processing (usually by computers).

data analysis, data analytics

The process of turning data in to useful information: finding and interpreting patterns within data.

data point

An individual item (‘datum’) within a collection of data; one measurement in a series.

data set

A collection of data brought together for processing and analysis, usually relating to a certain topic.

data table / tabular data

A collection of data organised in to rows and columns. Each row is a record, and each column contains a predictable formatted value.

database

A structured collection of data stored on a computer, along with software which allows it to be queried and manipulated.

demographics

Data and information about people, a population or a society.
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E

F

G

H

heuristics

Simple processes or rules of thumb that make accomplishing a task quicker or easier. Back to top

I

information

Data that has been processed or structured so that it is meaningful to people.
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J

join

A command that allows you to reference two different tables or sets of data in a database in the same query.
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K

key value

A value in a data set which allows it to be combined with or indexed against another dataset.

knowledge

Data and Information that has been understood by a person, and can be used alongside expert opinion, skills and experience to make decisions.
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L

M

machine learning

Computer programming techniques which use feedback loops to perform tasks on data more accurately by generalising from examples.

maximum

The largest value in a set of numbers.

mean

The mathematical average of a set of numbers. The total of all of them, divided by the count of numbers in the set.

median

The ‘middle’ value in a set of numbers, where half of the numbers in the set will be less than, and half more than the value of the median. A form of average.

minimum

The smallest value in a set of numbers.

mitigation

Action taken to reduce the potential likelihood or negative effects of a risk. Washing your hands more frequently is a way of mitigating the risk of flu infection.

mode

The most frequently appearing value in a set of numbers. A form of average.
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N

O

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P

pivot table

A tool in spreadsheet software which summarises large data sets into easily manipulated tables.
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Q

R

risk

Events that have the potential to occur, and that would affect your project negatively if they do.

ROI (Return on Investment)

A measure of how much additional value or profit a business will derive from the beneficial outcomes of an activity they spend money on.
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S

sample size

The number of measurements collected to create a set of data that is statistically comparable to the results you would get if measured every item in the thing you’re gathering data about.

statistical analysis

Using mathematical techniques to gain insight in to data, by describing it and deducing or estimating other properties based on probabilities.
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T

time series

A collection of data organised in a sequence by the time they occurred.
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U

V

variable

A named placeholder for a value in an algorithm, equation or computer programme that can change. For instance, “My name is [variable]” - where [variable] could be Kim, Ryzard, Ria, etc.

visualisation

A visual representation of data. This could be a chart or graph, but could also be a complex representation like a weather map.
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W

X

Y

Z

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This article is from the free online course:

Evidence and Data Collection for Problem Solving

University of Leeds