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INFO204 Introduction to Data Science

Introductory theory and methods for performing data-driven decision making. Measuring data quality, integration of data sources, learning algorithms, enabling behavioural change through data science, and ethical considerations.

The importance of data science, and data analytic thinking, is becoming increasingly important in modern business environments. Businesses are relying upon data-driven decision making at an ever-increasing rate, so individuals with a mind towards data science thinking have a competitive advantage in industry. The role of data scientist has been referred to as "The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century", and there are currently many vacancies both in New Zealand and abroad seeking candidates with data science skills.

In addition to being a core topic of Information Science, the concepts discussed in this paper would be of interest to a wide range of specialties, including: computer science, marketing, management, statistics and finance.

Paper title Introduction to Data Science
Paper code INFO204
Subject Information Science
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,038.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,492.80

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COMP 101 or BSNS 106
INFO 213
Recommended Preparation
BSNS 112 or one STAT paper
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Commerce, Science
Paper Structure
  • Two 1-hour lectures per week
  • One 1-hour tutorial per week
  • One 2-hour lab per week
Course outline
Teaching staff
Grant Dick
Gareth James, Daniela Witten, Trevor Hastie and Robert Tibshirani: An Introduction to Statistical Learning, Springer (available online)

Recommended Reading - Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett: Data Science for Business, O Reilly
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Ethics, Communication, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to
  1. Define data science as a field that integrates concepts from information technology and statistical/machine learning and combines with organisational context
  2. Describe the basic strengths and weaknesses of decision making based upon data science methodologies
  3. Explain the ethical and behavioural impacts and opportunities for innovation that data science methods can introduce within small and large businesses
  4. Perform basic data validation and integration from varied data silos
  5. Apply basic data-driven modelling techniques (linear models and decision trees) to solve classification and regression problems
  6. Use appropriate visualisation and reporting techniques to convey knowledge acquired through data science processes

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Computer Lab

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 13:00-14:50 28-34, 36-40
A2 Thursday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-40


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Friday 17:00-18:50 32
P2 Friday 19:00-20:50 32


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Thursday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
T2 Thursday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41