Itgs Case Study 2013 Questions

Supermarkets and Big Data

How Companies Learn Your Secrets is a very long but very revealing article about retailers' tracking of customers. With lots of specific examples and clear technical detail, this article is an essential ready for teachers and students studing the 2015 case study.

Shoppers Who Can't Have Secrets discusses the world of behavioural tracking - a key technique used in the collection of Big Data by supermarkets and other retailers. The article also examines regulation of data collection practices and data protection law.

How supermarkets get your data - and what they do with it is excellent background reading which does exactly what the headline says - and gives some good, specific examples of big data use. It also discusses the thorny area of data sharing and data aggregation.

How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did is a very interesting, quite worrying example of the type of information retailers can glean from customer data.

Using big data for smarter online supermarket shopping discusses a different side of Big Data that is sometimes forgotten - the use of analytics to optimize business efficiency. The examples in this article include trying to group delivery times for online orders so they can be performed with fewer vehicles. This article is definitely worth a read, if only to remember that Big Data in supermarkets is not just about targeted advertising.

Big Data: Retailers, Supermarkets, Medical Markets All Dive In To Extract Information From And About Consumers talks about some quite unknown techniques used by supermarkets and retailers to gather customer data. Such techniques include facial recognition cameras and even the use of WiFi signals to detect the location of customers within the store so that movement patterns can be gathered. There are great examples in here that clearly relate to several ITGS social and ethical issues.

Startup Lets Retail Stores Track Shoppers As Websites Do. Websites have longed tracked visitors using cookies and similar techniques. This article discusses ways to track in-store customers even if they do not sign up for loyalty card or reward card schemes.

How Do Supermarkets Use Your Data? discusses both the collection of data via loyalty cards and ways to identify and track customers who do not own such cards - a very important point for the case study which links to other ITGS issues such as privacy and informed consent.

Data, data everywhere discusses Big Data in a variety of contexts, including retailers. It also covers some of the issues related to data collection and highlights the sheer scale of Big Data: Walmart reportedly adds 1 million records each hour to its database, which tops 2.5 petabytes in size.

Updated: 2015-03-01

The ITGS paper 3 exam is only for Higher Level (HL) students, and involves a different case study each year. Here are some tips for revising for and writing paper 3.


  • The Case Study booklet – you should read this again, even if you think you already know it.
  • The key IT language from the back of the Case Study booklet.
  • The secondary research – the examples of related and organisations that we found on the Internet during our independent research. They are on the class wiki. You can also find resources for the latest case study on the ITGS textbook site. Resources for the 2017 case study are here.
  • Primary research – the examples (some of you) researched in class and performed interviews for. These are on the class wiki.
  • Questions – the list of “big issues” we discussed in class – the main concerns that the main stakeholders have, and the issues related to them. Make sure you know how these affect the stakeholders and the likely solutions.

Paper 3 Questions

  • The first parts of the exam are similar to Paper 1 – short answers using the basic command terms (Describe, Define, Explain, etc)
  • The first essay question uses the same rubric as the essays on Paper 1 – use the structure I taught you
  • The final essay question is where you must incorporate the research we have done in class (primary and secondary). This is not optional.
  • Use the key sentences I gave you to show the examiner you are doing this. “In an example our class researched….”
  • If you researched an organisation called “Teatro Presidential”, don’t just say “In the Teatro Presidential…..”. The examiner might not know what you are talking about. Say “In an example our class researched, a local theatre called Teatro presidential……”
  • A good way to incorporate our research is to use it to back up suggestions you make – e.g. suggest a solution to one of the stakeholders’s problems, then use a similar example we researched to explain how/why the solution was effective.
  • Do not think you can get away with not including primary research! Your grade will be badly affected.

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