This textbook is intended to provide a comprehensive introduction to forecasting methods and to present enough information about each method for readers to be able to use them sensibly. We don’t attempt to give a thorough discussion of the theoretical details behind each method, although the references at the end of each chapter will fill in many of those details. The book is written for three audiences: (1) people finding themselves doing forecasting in business when they may not have had any formal training in the area; (2) undergraduate students studying business; (3) MBA students doing a forecasting elective. We use it ourselves for a second-year subject for students undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Monash University, Australia.
For most sections, we only assume that readers are familiar with algebra, and high school mathematics should be sufficient background. Readers who have completed an introductory course in statistics will probably want to skip some of Chapters 2 and 4. There are a couple of sections which require knowledge of matrices, but these are flagged.
At the end of each chapter we provide a list of “further reading”. In general, these lists comprise suggested textbooks that provide a more advanced or detailed treatment of the subject. Where there is no suitable textbook, we suggest journal articles that provide more information.
We use R throughout the book and we intend students to learn how to forecast with R. R is free and available on almost every operating system. It is a wonderful tool for all statistical analysis, not just for forecasting. See Using R for instructions on installing and using R. The book is different from other forecasting textbooks in several ways.