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Lecture 18 Outline

- Research Proposal Information
- Writing Research Proposal
- The Art of Peer Review
- Addressing Reviewer’s Comments
- Inferential Statistics
- Testing for differences
- Determining if a sample represents a population
- Determining if two or more samples differ
- Testing for relationships
- Form of relationship
- Strength of relationship

PSYC512: Research Methods

Writing a Research Proposal

- Purpose of Research Proposal
- Present a literature review defining concepts and intervening variables pertinent to research question
- Present a specific research question with explicit hypotheses to be tested
- Develop a plan for addressing that research question empirically, including descriptions of
- Target population and subject sampling
- The research design, including explicit definition of independent and dependent variables and how the stimuli and procedures implement these variables
- Aspects of stimuli and procedures that control for extraneous and confounding variables
- Types of analyses to be used, predicted results, and how these predictions relate to the hypotheses

PSYC512: Research Methods

Research Proposals: Global Concerns

- Scientific Writing Style
- Precision more important than entertainment, but…
- Research is part science and part advertising – not only do you need to develop good ideas but you must be able to sell your ideas
- Proposal is often the basis of first impression for the quality of the research project
- Proposal must be clear on ALL levels of analysis
- Words
- Sentences
- Paragraphs OUTLINE!
- Sections

PSYC512: Research Methods

Research Proposals: Global Concerns

- APA guidelines
- Orderly expression of ideas - organization
- Smoothness of expression - transitions
- Economy of expression - concise language
- Precision and clarity – use scientific vocabulary “jargon” correctly and insure that all terms are defined the first time they are used

PSYC512: Research Methods

Organization of a Research Proposal: APA STYLE

- Title Page – title should specifically describe what the paper is about so that it is useful information for other researchers’ literature searches
- Abstract
- essentially a mini-paper for lit. searches
- be extremely CONCISE! (< 150 words)
- introduce specific topic
- discuss variables, etc.
- present major results (no statistics!)
- discuss important conclusions

PSYC512: Research Methods

Organization of a Research Proposal : APA STYLE

- Introduction
- Purpose
- Demonstrate knowledge of relevant research
- Define intervening variables and their relation to manipulations and measurements used in previous research
- Present and justify research question and hypotheses
- Present and justify the general method to be used
- Organization
- Start broad then narrow to your general purpose
- Discuss only relevant research in a logical flow
- Near the end provide an explicit statement of hypotheses and an overview of the general research design

PSYC512: Research Methods

Organization of a Research Proposal: APA STYLE

- Method
- explicitly state how variables are manipulated
- define in separate sub-sections
- Participants (subjects)
- Design
- Stimuli/Apparatus/Materials
- Procedures
- Results
- Describe the Scales of IVs and DVs
- Describe Transformations of DVs
- Summarized planned statistical analyses
- Summarize predictions

PSYC512: Research Methods

Important Elements of Style (Brian’s pet peeves)

- Define scientific terms (“jargon”) and abbreviations at first use, then use terms consistently
- Do not use informal or colloquial language
- e.g., you don’t “run” subjects, you test subjects
- Ambiguous pronouns: if you use the word “it” make sure the surrounding context makes the meaning of the word “it” obvious, otherwise avoid using it (as in “it”)
- Sexist pronouns (he vs. she) – word sentences to avoid having to use these if at all possible, or use “he or she”

PSYC512: Research Methods

Important Elements of Style (Brian’s pet peeves)

- Verb tense
- Introduction Section:
- Discussion of specific previous research past tense,
- Discussion of ideas or concepts that are general for all time and not linked to specific moment in the past present tense
- Method and results
- Proposal: future tense
- research report: past tense

PSYC512: Research Methods

Important Elements of Style (Brian’s pet peeves)

- Plural/singular mismatches
- Passive voice – word sentences in active voice
- Superfluous, imprecise language (e.g., avoid vague adverbs—search for all words ending in “ly” and consider eliminating them)
- Style issues like “that” vs. “which”
- For more information on writing style I recommend:
- Strunk, W., jr., and White, E.B. (2000) The Elements of Style, 4th Ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

PSYC512: Research Methods

The Art of Peer Review

- Example review available online in lecture schedule
- Goal: Assist author in improving the clarity and impact of the paper (or proposal) by offering specific constructive criticism (no name calling!) and complements (where appropriate)
- Structure
- Summary
- Major (or general) criticisms (typically <=3)
- Minor (specific) criticisms (any number, specifically listed by page and line number)

PSYC512: Research Methods

Addressing Reviewer’s Comments

- Never blame a reviewer for a negative review
- Consider all criticism as constructive—the reviewer is trying to help you!
- Assume misunderstandings are your fault, not the reviewers. All misunderstandings occur because you did not write clearly enough
- The cover letter (required with submission of revised proposal)
- Specifically responds to the reviewers comments by
- describing specific changes made in the paper to address criticisms
- Presenting a rationale for why a reviewer’s criticism was not addressed
- Must be worded very diplomatically!

PSYC512: Research Methods

Presenting Research

- Time-allotted: 20 minutes strictly enforced!
- Use same general format as the written report
- introduction (roughly 10 minutes)
- method (roughly 8 minutes)
- Summary (2 minutes or so)
- Given time allotted you cannot go into the same level of detail as your written report
- Materials
- Talk from an outline of points you wish to make
- Visual Aids power point
- Elements of Style
- PRACTICE YOUR PRESENTATION!
- Anticipate questions and how you will answer them

PSYC512: Research Methods

Using Inferential Statistics

- Which Statistic?
- The statistical decision tree Howell Figure 1.1
- Testing for relationships vs. differences (a false distinction)
- Relationships: assessing the strength of relationship between measured (dependent) variables
- Differences: comparing different groups or treatments on some measurement
- But what causes those differences? The relationship between the independent variable defining the groups or treatment and the dependent variable
- Hence, testing for differences is really testing the relationship between the IV and DV

PSYC512: Research Methods

Analyzing Frequencies (Howell, Chapter 5)

- Bernoulli Trials: series of independent trials that result in one of two mutually exclusive outcomes
- E.g. coin flips, gender of babies born, increase of decrease in a measure after application of a treatment
- The Binomial Distribution

PSYC512: Research Methods

Analyzing Frequencies (Howell, Chapter 5)

- Using the binomial distribution
- Mean number of successes = Np
- Variance in number of successes = Npq
- Testing Hypotheses using the binomial distribution: The Sign Test
- Ho is typically p= q = .50 (50-50 chance of success of failure), but that doesn’t have to be the case
- H1 is typically p ≠q
- Plug in values for N, X, p, and q and p(X) directly provides the probability that the pattern of data could result given the null hypothesis is true
- Sum the probabilities p(X) for all number >= X to get the total probability of finding p(>=X)
- Important: The sign test takes into account direction of differences but not magnitude

PSYC512: Research Methods

Analyzing Frequencies (Howell, Chapter 5)

- What about multiple (more than 2) possible outcomes?
- Multinomial distribution

PSYC512: Research Methods

Analyzing Frequencies (Howell, Chapter 5)

- Using the multinomial distribution
- Mean Xk = NpXk
- Variance in Xk = NpXk (1-pXk)
- Testing Hypotheses using the multinomial distribution:
- Ho is typically pX1= pX2 … = pXk = 1/k (each outcome has the same chance), but that doesn’t have to be the case
- H1 is typically pX1≠ pX2 …≠ pXk
- Plug in values for N, X, and pX, and p(X1, X2…Xk) directly provides the probability that this particular pattern of data could result given the null hypothesis is true
- Must sum the probabilities for all patterns that deviate equal to or more to get the total probability – time consuming!

PSYC512: Research Methods

Analyzing Frequencies (Howell, Chapter 6)

- Easier Alternative to Multinomial distribution: Chi-square (c2) test
- Compare computed value of c2 to value of c2 distribution with df=k-1
- Expected frequencies for the null hypothesis typically = N/k, where N is the total number of observations

k is the number of categories in the variable

O is the observed frequency for each category

E is the expected frequency for each category

i is the category index

PSYC512: Research Methods

Analyzing Frequencies (Howell, Chapter 6)

- Using c2 with multiple dimensions: contingency tables—frequencies of one dimension are contingent on the other dimension
- Eij = RiCj/N
- N is the total number of observations
- Compare computed value of c2 to value of c2 distribution with df=(R-1)(C-1)

R is the number of categories in the dimension defined by the rows of the table

C is the number of categories in the dimension defined by the columns of the table

O is the observed frequency for each category

E is the expected frequency for each category

i and j are category indices

PSYC512: Research Methods

Analyzing Frequencies (Howell, Chapter 6)

- Assumptions of the c2test
- Each observation is independent
- Inclusion of non-occurrences

PSYC512: Research Methods

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