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# Interpreting statistical testing methods in articles

I am required to do a research methods paper, topic: home schooling, with a critical approach applying statistical problem solving skills in a scientific method.

I am required to explore in detail one of the statistical approaches to research, t-test, z score, ANOVA, etc.

Because I do not think critically, this is very difficult for me. I would appreciate tips on how to identify which testing method was used and then tips on how to interpret it. In simple terms (dummy proof it, please); what am I looking for and how do I identify it? I have attached the articles for reference, but please do not feel it necessary to review. I really need to know HOW to analyze. Thank you.

http://genip.tamu.edu/homeschooling.pdf
http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/WhenHomeSchoolersGoToSchool.pdf
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/homeschool/index.asp#origintable2

#### Solution Preview

1. I would appreciate tips on how to identify which testing method was used and then tips on how to interpret it... what am I looking for and how do I identify it. I have attached the articles for reference, but please do not feel it necessary to review. I really need to know HOW to analyze. Thank you

RESPONSE:

The place to start is to read the article first, and then follow the following steps.

To determine the method used by the authors, you go to the methods and results section of the paper, where it is explained in full. Sometimes it is also explained briefly in the abstract and in the introduction as well. Critical thinking is important, and it looking for the information that helps you find the information that you are looking for - on the testing method used and how to interpret it - (i.e. from scanning the abstract, introduction, methods section, results sections, etc.).

Let's look at the three articles to help you learn how to analyze "critically" the method used in the study and what it means. All three articles use descriptive methods to some extent, but none use the experimental design.

Descriptive Statistics are used to present quantitative descriptions in a manageable form, especially in a research study that has lots of measures or has a large number of people on any measure. Descriptive statistics help to present large amounts of data in a sensible way using charts and tables (most often using percentages to describe the phenomenon under study, such as characteristics or aspects of homeschooling). Each descriptive statistic reduces lots of data into a simpler summary (http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/statdesc.php)

1. http://genip.tamu.edu/homeschooling.pdf

In the article, first you will see that this study investigated five areas, which means the results will be interpreted referring back to ...

#### Solution Summary

Assists in learning how to analyze and interpret statistical testing methods based on the three articles.

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