For this project, each student is expected to develop individually a computer-based decision support system (DSS) or business intelligence system (BIS) using a software tool or application of choice. The purpose is to analyse the raw data provided in a dataset and to generate insights by presenting the information in a meaningful way.
You are required to download a Department of Social Services (DSS) dataset from https://data.gov.au. The dataset is at https://data.gov.au/dataset?groups=community and called “DSS Payments by Commonwealth Electoral Division”.
Prior to the election last year, The Conversation published “a snapshot of the key issues affecting each state and territory in the lead up to Saturday’s election” (see, for example, https://theconversation.com/state-of-the-states-tasmania-17318 ). These snapshots suggest that some government funding decisions can be seen to be located in electorates for political advantage or pork-barrelling .
The question has been asked whether social security payments are fairly distributed across the country or is there evidence of politically motivated spending in marginal electorates by major parties for electoral gain ? Your task is to get the facts by accessing available data on these DSS payments by electorate and any other publically available datasets to see if there is evidence of biased spending.
You will need to build knowledge around the setting for the problem. The following readings are expected to bring new ideas or insights. While they may reinforce your original thinking on how to proceed, alternatively they could take you in an entirely different direction.
Research source material with an industry focus includes ‘white’ papers from software vendors, ‘grey’ literature from government, newspaper articles for political awareness, community literature such as from Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), and professional literature such as Information Age, published by the Australian Computer Society. Google is also a good starting point. Research source material with an academic focus includes articles from journals, books and conferences published after a rigorous peer-review process. Google Scholar is also a good starting point.
Your task is to investigate the data and determine the problem, design and build a prototype, extract information to ‘tell us what we should know about the data’ from this dataset, and then to present the information meaningfully and visually.
You are provided with raw data in csv format. You need to create the problem, context, setting, users and uses of the data. We are not prescriptive in this regard. We would like you to use your imagination.
The data has a story to tell. If there are terms you do not know, research those terms. After all, being resourceful is an expectation of UC graduates.
Examine the data. The data is de-identified. We can assume it is open data for public viewing. Ask some BI questions. What does the data tell you ? Who would want that data ? Think about users and uses of the data ? Focus on one organisation or individual user such as an investigative newspaper report, rather than be too general. What questions could be asked ? Would analysis of the data assist the government to make decisions and policy ? Are other datasets required to get the answers ?