Help with Math Research Paper

Hello, Chief Delphi. I am a member of team 6860, Equitum Robotics. I am also currently an international baccalaureate student. As a student, who takes IB Math, I must write an Internal Assessment (IA) paper. In an IA, I write a paper investigating an area of math. For my IA, I have decided to see if there a correlation between a team’s income, and their success rate. I have created a survey for a team representative to fill out. All data are confidential and no name will be released to the public. You do not have to give me an exact number for the questions, an estimate is fine.
I would like to get as many teams as possible to fill out the survey but I am hoping to get at least a hundred pieces to data. I have contacted many teams personally, and have gotten replies from a lot of them, but I am still far from my goal. I hope that all of you can give me a moment of your time and fill out the quick survey. If you have any questions about this paper or a question, you can post it here and I will try my best to answer it. Thank you all for your time.

If you could, please share the results (with team numbers redacted of course), I too am interested in the correlation between income and success.

yeah if you guys are interested, I will share it.

So…we mix robot building budget, tools and equipment budget, transportation, lodging, and all this stuff together?

I wonder what this might tell us? :slight_smile:

And this right here… is why results from the post here won’t get meaningful results. Each team is going to define “budget” and “income” differently. Without having some form of definition on this, you’re mixing terms and can’t really reach a valid conclusion.

As an example, some teams count what the build space would be worth if it wasn’t being donated as part of their income/fundraising/budget. Some teams don’t.

To reach the conclusions you want to reach, you need data points to be speaking the same language first.

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the budget refers to how much money your team needs to raise. It can include the cost of the robot itself, tools, transportation/lodging, food, etc. It is anything your team has to raise money for.

a team that builds out of their school may not consider the build space cost as part of their budget, but that could give them more resources than other teams. That could skew the results. Additionally, a team that is budgeting for new tooling would have a bigger budget than a team that already has that tooling, which could also skew the results.

@Batrex, I did the same math IA last year and if you are interested I could tell you about some of the pitfalls of trying to find a correlation between a teams income and their success. If you dm me we can chat and I could give you some of the data that I had collected

Thanks for the clarification.

I don’t think I can complete the survey, because I know that our team does not have records of the overall budget. I know it’s been in the $15-50k range per year over the past decade and a half, but it would be impossible to get it much more exact than that.

That would be great! Thankyou

I changed the survey and my research several times, and each time I notice there was some sort of skew. I felt like the best thing was for me to leave it up to the teams on there definition of budget and income and if they have a business plan then go of that. My teacher did say that I had to include reason for skew or that type of results and I was going to use that as my reasoning.

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Not trying to be a debbie downer here, but take a step back and look at this from a research perspective.

The “skew” here is non-negligible. It’ll affect each data point differently. There’s no way for you to accurately estimate it.

Your entire argument is going to be based on pairs: money vs performance. If those data points vary greatly in measurement, you can’t reach any conclusive statements. That leaves you in a spot where you’re going to have to describe the data to get to whatever conclusion you provide. Given the data set you’ll have, you can argue between the entire range of correlation. If you can make that argument, independent of the data, then you’re not getting any additional information FROM the data. That makes the entire data collection process an exercise in futility.

The purpose of your assignment isn’t to explain away the data to show the conclusion you want to find. Rather, it’s meant to find a set of data you can gather and use the data to bring clarity to the conversation.

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself what your goal is here. If your goal is to get the answer to the question you posed, you need to take about 30 steps backwards. Define things. Get people on the same page. Eliminate the skew as much as you can. If your goal is to engage in a research paper using data collection, you probably want to choose another topic (or take those same 30 steps backwards and create a lot of extra work for yourself). If your goal is to show a (dis)connection between money and performance, continue on your current path. The data doesn’t really matter for the argument you’re looking to make and you can explain it away however you’d like.

I understand. I guess I did not really think about some of those things. Thank you for your advice, they are very helpful. I will change my survey a bit more and define it and hopefully that will help solve the issue.

I edited the survey and I think I solved some of the issue from earlier

FYI, I completed the survey, but had a difficult time with these aspects.
Our students donate $15,000 of our $35,000 budget. I did not include this in sposorships or other questions.

We don’t pay for travel, but attend one event that requires two nights of hotel. I did not include any of this in our budget or otherwise. I think many teams do pay travel expenses.

I did not include any expense associated with going to world championships (maybe $25-$30k), which we have attended 3 out of 4 years. One of the 3 was via a lottery entry.

Building on @JeffB, I can’t see how you can rely on this data, since the variance of what is/is not included in my answers varies by over 100%.

Suggestion: Get team performance data from TBA, only collect budget/sponsor/team size info in your survey. It’ll be more accurate.

Important note from an accounting PoV: do you mean to include the accounted value of service/in-kind donations? If you want an example of a strict definition of income/budget/etc., check out the IRS 990-EZ — it’s the form some/most US teams would fill out if they were independent public charities. Their definition of ‘Gross Receipt’ includes, for example, cash income and donated materials, but not temporarily donated facilities.

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