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    Choosing a research question in psychological statistics

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    I have been asked to come up with a research question in psychological statistics.

    Can you help me get started by clarifying some of the expectations of the paper.
    - What is a null or alternative hypothesis?
    - Should I choose a qualitative or quantitive design? Why would I choose one of the other?
    - What is the difference between descriptive, correlational or experimental designs? Why?
    - What would be an example of a varible for this study that could be measured on a nominal scale, ordinal scale, or ratio scale?
    - Once I've collected all the data would I use inferential or descriptive statistics and why? I need to create a sample frequency distribution for one the variables.

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    SOLUTION This solution is FREE courtesy of BrainMass!

    I am going to help break this down for you in order to better understand the requirements of the paper.

    The research assistant (2003) advises the researcher to ask specific questions before coming up with a hypothesis. Some examples are:
    - How familiar am I with the subject to be researched?
    - Is this an area that could lead to greater understanding?
    - What areas of this subject need further exploring?

    A research question can be asking about something that you have always been curious about; Do tomato plants grow better in cow manure than in regular dirt? Do victims of verbal abuse in early childhood become drug addicts later in life?

    Hypothesis are not written in question form but rather in a statement: Tomato plants grow better in cow manure than in regular dirt or Victims of verbal abuse in early childhood become drug addicts later in life.

    A null hypothesis is one in which the researcher is trying to reject, disprove or nullify their hypothesis. An alternative hypothesis is just the opposite the researcher really believes their hypothesis is true and is trying to prove it. (Shuttleworth, 2008)

    Snap Surveys (2012) explains that qualitative research focuses on gathering data in a more verbal form such as individual depth interviews or group discussions, where quantitative research focuses on obtaining data in a more mathematical form such as questionnaires.

    Descriptive research describes the research and often new theories and ideas are discovered. A review on previous research is an example of descriptive research. Correlational research attempts to see how two or more variables relate, how related are drug use in later life to childhood victims of verbal abuse. Experimental research is lead by a hypothesis that states an expected relationship between variables and an experiment is conducted to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis. (Kravitz)

    Nominal scale measures the identity property, cat or dog, Catholic or Lutheran are examples of variables measured on nominal scales. Ordinal scale measure both property and magnitude, an example would be a race reported as win, place and show. The winner finished ahead of the one that placed and the one that placed finished ahead of the one that showed. Ratio scale measures identity, magnitude, intervals and absolute zero. (StatTrek)

    Inferential statistics make predictions and draw conclusions based on analyzing the numerical data. Descriptive statistics use the analysis of the numeric data to reveal patterns.

    I hope this helps and thanks for using Brainmass.com!


    Kravitz, L., Understanding and Enjoying Research. http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/understandres.html.

    StatTrek: Scales of Measurement in Statistics. http://stattrek.com/statistics/measurement-scales.aspx.

    Shuttleworth, M., (2008) Null Hypothesis; Experiment Resources.com. http://www.experiment-resources.com/null-hypothesis.html.

    Snap Surveys (2012) Qualitative vs Quantitative Research. http://www.snapsurveys.com/techadvqualquant.shtml.

    The Research Assistant (August 12, 2003) The Relationship Between the Research Question, Hypotheses, Specific Aims, and Long-Term Goals of the Project. http://www.theresearchassistant.com/tutorial/2-1.asp.

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