COMM5011 Data Analysis for Business - 2021

Term 3
6 Units of Credit
This course outline is for the current term. To view outlines from other years and/or terms, visit the archives

1. Course Details

Given the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in NSW, all Term 3 courses will be delivered online until at least Friday 22nd October and all assessment will be online throughout the term. The University remains hopeful that the situation will improve to allow for some on-campus activities later in Term 3 such as lab, practical and studio classes. UNSW will continue to review the situation regularly and keep students updated. For further information on how your study may be affected this term, please see FAQs here. See tab 8. Policies and Support in this course outline for tips on online study and assessment.

Summary of Course

​This course provides an introduction to basic analytical skills. It provides a solid basis from which data analysis techniques and tools can be applied to solve business problems. There is an emphasis on problem solving and business analytics by both manual and digital methods. The first half of the course will focus on the use of quantitative methods and techniques. The second half of the course will focus on the use of qualitative research methods and techniques.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

​This course is offered as one of the Data Analysis alternatives in the core of the MCom degree. It aims to develop students’ ability to analyse qualitative and quantitative business data for operations and management purposes. It is designed for students with little or no qualitative or quantitative training in their postgraduate degree but who need to develop these skills for specialisations in the areas of Marketing, Information Systems and Human Resource Management. The skills learned are also relevant for broader specialisations including project management and business decision making. Students wishing to complete a specialisation such as Finance, Economics or Accounting - where more in-depth quantitative skills may be required - will usually find COMM5005 or ECON5248 more appropriate as their Data Analysis core course.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
LecturerProfKevin FoxRoom 3119 Quadrangle Building Ref E1502 9385 3320Thursday 7-8pm (online), or by appointment
Lecturer-in-chargeDrVincent PangRoom 2088 Quadrangle Building Ref E1502 9385 7835Thursday 7 -8 pm (online) or by appointment (Microsoft Teams)

Communications with staff

You should feel free to contact your lecturer about any academic matter. However, for efficiency, all enquiries about the subject material should be made at lectures or tutorials or during consultation time. Discussion of course subject material will not be entered into via lengthy emails.

Student Enrolment Requests

Students can vary their own enrolment (including switching lecture streams or tutorials) via myUNSW until the end of Week 1. In general, most other student enrolment requests should be directed to The Nucleus: Student Hub (formerly Student Central). These include enrolment in full courses or tutorials, course timetable clashes, waiving prerequisites for any course, transfer-of-credit (international exchange, transfer to UNSW, cross-institutional study, etc.), or any other request which requires a decision about equivalence of courses and late enrolment for any course. Where appropriate, the request will be passed to the School Office for approval before processing. Note that enrolment changes are rarely considered after Week 2 classes have taken place.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

​This course aims to develop your ability to analyse business data, which comes in both text-based and numerical forms, and build your skills in decision making within a business context. It also seeks to prepare you for further MCom courses which require the use of data analysis skills. You will learn how to use relevant software, tools and techniques to carry out this analysis.

Our approach to teaching this course is to give you opportunities to think and analyse like a business person. You will need to be open to:

Thinking about how different types of businesses use data

Trying a variety of data gathering and analysis techniques

Discussing methods and results with your peers

Explaining your findings to others - via reports or presentations

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

​The lectures will introduce you to the sources and uses of data in a business situation and demonstrate a number of approaches using case studies and other practical examples. The lectures will introduce techniques for both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. They will be interactive, with opportunities for you to participate and ask questions.

You will further develop your understanding of techniques introduced in lectures by thorough preparation and active participation in tutorials. The focus of tutorials will be on the discussion of methods and output with an emphasis on real-life scenarios and case studies. There will be opportunities for you to engage with others through group discussion and oral presentations so that different viewpoints can be thoroughly explored. See Moodle for each week’s tutorial materials to prepare.

Arrangements for the first five weeks (weeks 1 to 5) of the term, which cover quantitative methods:

1. Lectures: Pre-prepared video recordings for the lectures will be placed on the Moodle site. Students should view these videos and related materials in their own time. It is expected that it will take students at least two and a half hours to view and review these recordings each week. The timetabled lecture time for the first half of the course is Thursday 5-7pm. The first 60 minutes of this time (i.e., 5:00-6:00 pm) can be used to view the recordings. There will then be a one-hour online session with the lecturer, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, in which the lecturer will go through the material in more detail, provide extra examples and answer questions. This will be followed by an hour of online consultation time, where the lecturer will be available to answer any further questions. In total, it is expected that students will spend three hours per week on the lecture materials (two hours viewing and reviewing the recorded videos, plus one hour online with the lecturer, 6:00-7:00pm on Thursdays).

2. Tutorials: There is a one-hour tutorial each week. Tutorials will be in online mode.

Arrangements for last five weeks (weeks 6 to 10) of the term, which cover qualitative methods:

1. Lectures: Lecture slides will be placed on the Moodle site. All the lecture slides have notes pages, better known as speaker notes. It is expected it will take students an hour to view and review these slides before coming to class. An interactive session is scheduled for Thursdays 5-7 pm. The lecturer for this half of the course will hold a live interactive lecture on Microsoft Teams presenting the key point of the slides, and answer any questions arise from students’ initial review of the lecture slides. This live interactive session will be recorded, so it can be viewed later by students who need to leave early or could not attend the session for some reason.

2. Tutorials: There is a one-hour tutorial each week. Tutorials will be in online mode [Note: one face-to-face class (Friday 2pm to 3pm) has been converted to online mode.] The tutor for this half of the course will come into the live interactive session in Microsoft Teams to carry out demonstrations of the application NVivo that is useful for coding qualitative data. The tutor will walk through useful features of the application based on an example of how a qualitative study has been conducted.

5. Course Resources

Course Website:

The website for this course is on UNSW Moodle.


An approved scientific calculator will be required for use in some lectures, tutorials and the final exam. See for a list of UNSW exam approved calculators.

(1) ​The prescribed textbook for the quantitative component of this course (first half of the term weeks 1 to 5) is:

Basic Business Statistics: Concepts and Applications, Berenson, M., Levine, D., Szabat, K., O'Brien, M., Watson, J. and Jayne, N. 5th Edition

Publisher: Pearson Australia

Printed Copies: The UNSW Bookshop will have print copies on the shelf –  you can order online from the Bookshop if you can’t get to campus –

Digital Version: The UNSW Bookshop can also supply digital copies at:

(2) ​The prescribed textbook for the qualitative component of this course (second half of the term weeks 6 to 10) is:

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research (3rd ed.): Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. SAGE Publications, Inc.

Digital Version: You can view and download a digital copy from the UNSW library:

For the qualitative component of this course (second half of the term), you will be provided with electronic copies of relevant readings compiled specially for this course. Links to additional and suggested readings will be provided on Moodle.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

​The School of Economics strives to be responsive to student feedback. If you would like more information on how the design of this course and changes made to it over time have taken students’ needs and preferences into account, please contact the Director of Education at the School of Economics.

​​Each year feedback is sought from students and other stakeholders about the courses offered in the School and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. UNSW's myExperience survey is one of the ways in which student evaluative feedback is gathered. In this course, we will seek your feedback through end-of-term myExperience evaluations.

Consent for De-Identified Data to be Used for Secondary Research into Improving Student Experience

To enhance your student experience, researchers at UNSW conduct academic research that involves the use of de-identified student data, such as assessment outcomes, course grades, course engagement and participation, etc. Students of this course are being invited to provide their consent for their de-identified data to be shared with UNSW researchers for research purposes after the course is completed.

Providing consent for your de-identified data to be used in academic research is voluntary and not doing so will not have an impact on your course grades.

Researchers who want to access your de-identified data for future research projects will need to submit individual UNSW Ethics Applications for approval before they can access your data.

A full description of the research activities aims, risks associated with these activities and how your privacy and confidentiality will be protected at all times can be found here.

If you consent to have your de-identified data used for academic research into improving student experience, you do not need to do anything. Your consent will be implied, and your data may be used for research in a format that will not individually identify you after the course is completed.

If you do not consent for this to happen, please email the opt-out form to to opt-out from having your de-identified data used in this manner. If you complete the opt-out form, the information about you that was collected during this course will not be used in academic research.

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 13 SeptemberA1 - Lecture
  1. Course Introduction - both Quantitative and Qualitative components
  2. QUANT: Drawing, verifying and reporting conclusions

Berenson et al. Ch. 2.

Tutorial A1

Statistics exercises

Berenson et al. Ch. 2.

Tutorial A1: Details on Moodle

Week 2: 20 SeptemberA2 - Lecture - Quantitative

Describing data

Berenson et al. Ch. 2 and Ch. 3.


Tutorial A2

Statistics exercises

Tutorial A2: Details on Moodle

Tutorial Assignment 1: Details on Moodle

Week 3: 27 SeptemberA3 - Lecture - Quantitative

Introduction to regression and probability

Berenson et al. Sections 12.1-12.3 for regression, Ch. 4. and 5.3 for probability

Tutorial assignment on Week 2 material (Tutorial Assignment 1) to be submitted for assessment by 7pm on Thursday of this week.

Tutorial A3

Statistics exercises

Tutorial A3: Details on Moodle

Tutorial Assignment 2: Details on Moodle

Week 4: 5 OctoberA4 - Lecture - Quantitative

The Normal Distribution and Sampling Distributions


Berenson et al. Sections 6.1-6.4 for normal distributions and 7.1-7.4 for sampling distributions


Tutorial A4

Statistics exercises

Tutorial A4: Details on Moodle

Tutorial Assignment 3: Details on Moodle

Week 5: 11 OctoberA5 - Lecture - Quantitative

Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis Testing

Berenson et al. Section 8.1 for confidence intervals and 9.1-9.3 for hypothesis testing

Tutorial assignment on Week 4 material (Tutorial Assignment 3) to be submitted for assessment by 7pm on Thursday of this week.

Tutorial A5

Statistics exercises

Tutorial A5: Details on Moodle

Tutorial Assignment 4: Details on Moodle

Week 6: 18 OctoberB1 - Lecture - Qualitative

Introduction to Qualitative Business Research: Purpose, Nature, and Data

Qualitative Readings 1: Details in Moodle

Week 7: 25 OctoberB2 - Lecture - Qualitative

Formulating Business Problems for Qualitative Research

Qualitative Readings 2: Details in Moodle

In-tutorial quiz

Week 8: 1 NovemberB3 - Lecture - Qualitative

Qualitative Research Methods 1: Secondary Data Usage, Repertory Grid, and Process Tracing

Qualitative Readings 3: Details in Moodle

In-tutorial quiz

Week 9: 8 NovemberB4 - Lecture - Qualitative

Qualitative Research Methods 2: Case Study (Single and Multiple), Interviewing Techniques, and Narrative Interviews

Qualitative Readings 4: Details in Moodle

In-tutorial quiz

Week 10: 15 NovemberB5 - Lecture - Qualitative

Qualitative Research Methods 3: Ethnography, Focus Groups, and Action Research

Qualitative Readings 5: Details in Moodle

Study Period: 22 November

Group assignment due 7PM on Monday 22 November.

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School program learning outcomes, academic integrity, student responsibilities and student support services. For information regarding special consideration and viewing final exam scripts, please go to the key policies and support page.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Services team.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

​Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School Learning Support Tools
Business School provides support a wide range of free resources and services to help students in-class and out-of-class, as well as online. These include:

  • Academic Communication Essentials – A range of academic communication workshops, modules and resources to assist you in developing your academic communication skills.
  • Learning consultations – Meet learning consultants who have expertise in business studies, literacy, numeracy and statistics, writing, referencing, and researching at university level.
  • PASS classes – Study sessions facilitated by students who have previously and successfully completed the course.
  • Textbook access scheme – To support the inclusion and success of students from equity groups enrolled at UNSW Sydney in first year undergraduate Business programs.

The Nucleus - Business School Student Services team
The Nucleus Student Services team provides advice and direction on all aspects of enrolment and graduation. Level 2, Main Library, Kensington 02 8936 7005 /

Business School Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The Business School Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee strives to ensure that every student is empowered to have equal access to education. The Business School provides a vibrant, safe, and equitable environment for education, research, and engagement that embraces diversity and treats all people with dignity and respect.

UNSW Learning & Careers Hub
The UNSW Learning & Careers Hub provides academic skills and careers support services—including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources—for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Student Support Advisors
Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9065 9444

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Support for Studying Online

The Business School and UNSW provide a wide range of tools, support and advice to help students achieve their online learning goals. 

The UNSW Guide to Online Study page provides guidance for students on how to make the most of online study.

We recognise that completing quizzes and exams online can be challenging for a number of reasons, including the possibility of technical glitches or lack of reliable internet. We recommend you review the Online Exam Preparation Checklist of things to prepare when sitting an online exam.