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Week 6 Books and Resources PSY 7110

Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology

Mertens, D. M. (2015). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods (4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA; Sage Publications.

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Week 6

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Statistical Techniques

This week, you will focus on statistical techniques and how statistical techniques are related to research questions.

As you read various journal articles, you will see that researchers use a range of statistical tests. But have you wondered how they decide which test to use? This week, you will work through some of the most common tests. In particular, these include T-tests, Correlations, Regression, and Chi-Square.

But you can begin by examining why statistics are used. When you conduct research, you are always working with a population sample. It is important to ensure any findings you discover are generalizable to the whole population. Therefore, this is the reason statistics are used. Statistics allow you to conclude with a degree of probability that the findings are generalized to the population. For example, if you tested 500 people, 250 men, and 250 women, and asked them to complete a questionnaire that measured their self-esteem, and you found that men had significantly lower self-esteem than women, then you could reasonably generalize that conclusion to the entire population (again, within limits of confidence).

Statistics come in two forms, descriptive and inferential. Descriptive statistics describe the data. These could include means or frequency counts. But just knowing a mean or a frequency does not tell you anything about whether different means or frequency counts are significantly different from one another. For example, you could ask 100 people if they prefer cats or dogs. You might find that 56 people prefer cats and 44 prefer dogs. But is that difference significant? Clearly, 56 is higher than 44; but is that a statistically significant difference?

Inferential statistics allow you to test if in a sample of 100 people where 56 say X and 44 say Y if that difference insignificant. In other words, you can infer from this sample of 100 people whether people, in general, prefer cats or dogs. You simply cannot test everyone in the world, country, city, town, village, school, etc., so you must always work from a sample and infer from that sample. This is the purpose of using inferential statistics.

Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.

Week 6 – Assignment: Plan Studies with Specific Statistical Techniques

Assignment

Propose five hypothetical research studies for each of the following statistical analyses:

• Independent samples t-test

• Paired samples t-test

• Correlation

• Regression

• Chi-square

For each study, state:

• The hypothetical study

• The main variables in the study

• The nature of the data that will be collected (e.g., number of days sick, mean ratings from a questionnaire that measures self-esteem)

• The research question you would be testing

• The test you would be using

For example, use an example of a statistical test that you will not examine this week to develop the following:

• This hypothetical study will aim to determine if a coin you are flipping is biased in some way. If the coin is fair, you would expect that when you flip it ten times, there should be no significant difference in the number of heads that appear relative to the number of tails.

• The independent variable in this study is the flipping of the coin, and the dependent variable is the number of times a head or a tail appears.

• The data will be frequency counts, which are continuous data.

• The research question would be: Is there a significant difference in the number of heads and tails that occur when a coin is flipped ten times?

• The test you would use would be a sign test. A sign test is a nonparametric test for very small samples of data.

Support your assignment with references as needed. You may reference the assigned readings or any other resources you examined.

Length: 5-10 pages (1-2 pages per proposal), not including title and reference pages

Your assignment should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.

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