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Understanding Research & Statistics

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Suppose you wish to measure the effect of physical exercise on self-esteem. What type of experimental design would be most appropriate? Describe the types of groups necessary for this design. How would you measure your variables? Which threats to internal validity would you need to consider?

Almost daily, we hear about research that seems to contradict earlier findings. One day, for example, a particular food is good for you and the next it is not. What does this reflect about the scientific method? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the scientific method?

Hypothesis 1: It is hypothesized that soccer coaches of younger, coed teams, treat males and females on their teams differently. More specifically it is hypothesized that on coed teams the boys are kept in the game longer periods of time and are more likely to play offensive positions while girls are more likely to be on the sidelines and to play defensive positions.

Hypothesis 2: It is hypothesized that age is related to attitude toward violence on television. More specifically, it is hypothesized that people in their 40s and 50s are more critical of TV violence than are people in their 20s and 30s.

Hypothesis 3: It is hypothesized that residential mobility affects academic achievement. Specifically, it is hypothesized that children from families that have lived in no more than two different communities during their elementary school years tend to have higher academic achievement than do children from families that have lived in three or more communities (Adler and Clark, 1999).

a. For each hypothesis, identify the independent and dependent variables.

b. For each variable in each hypothesis, what method(s) of data collection would you use? Suggest a way to measure each of the variables.

What are the key differences between probability and non-probability sampling designs? Identify and briefly discuss the major types of probability sampling. Although convenience samples are widely used in research, what undermines their claims to generalizability?

What is the role of statistics in social science research? Be sure to distinguish between descriptive and inferential statistics.

What closed-ended questions could you construct from each of the following open-ended questions?

a. What was your family's total income last year?

b. How do you feel about the space shuttle program?

c. How important is religion in your life?

d. What was your main reason for attending graduate school?

e. What do you feel is the biggest problem facing your community?

Professor Ludwig wants to see the connection between experiencing family violence and academic achievement among students. He contacts the principal of a local high school who agrees to the school's participation. At the next school assembly, the principal hands out Ludwig's questionnaire, which includes questions about family behavior including violence between family members. The principal requests that the students fill out the survey and put their names on it. The following day Ludwig uses school records to obtain information about each student's level of academic achievement.

a. What ethical principle(s) do you think was (were) violated in this research?

b. Describe the probable reason(s) Ludwig violated the principle(s) you noted in your answer in Question 8a above.

c. Describe your reactions to the way this study was done. (Adler and Clark, 2003, 67)

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Solution Summary

This solution responds to the questions on statistics and research to increase understanding, such as the role of statistics in social science research, the advantages and disadvantages of the scientific method, and many others.

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