ARIMA - General Introduction

The modeling and forecasting procedures discussed in Identifying Patterns in Time Series Data involved knowledge about the mathematical model of the process. However, in real-life research and practice, patterns of the data are unclear, individual observations involve considerable error, and we still need not only to uncover the hidden patterns in the data but also generate forecasts. The ARIMA methodology developed by Box and Jenkins (1976) allows us to do just that; it has gained enormous popularity in many areas and research practice confirms its power and flexibility (Hoff, 1983; Pankratz, 1983; Vandaele, 1983). However, because of its power and flexibility, ARIMA is a complex technique; it is not easy to use, it requires a great deal of experience, and although it often produces satisfactory results, those results depend on the researcher's level of expertise (Bails & Peppers, 1982). The following sections will introduce the basic ideas of this methodology. For those interested in a brief, applications-oriented (non-mathematical), introduction to ARIMA methods, we recommend McDowall, McCleary, Meidinger, and Hay (1980).

See also, Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Mining Techniques.