For each Research
Paper you read, answer the following questions to ensure your understanding of
the quantitative methods used.
Answers are provided for
a simple (and rather silly) example, as follows. Assume a researcher wants to
study the relationship between intelligence and heights of people.
- What is the Research question? Among doctoral
students in the US, does the height of a person affect his/her
- What are the hypotheses,
if any? Taller people
are less intelligent. (as I said, this is a silly example, not
to be taken seriously. However, given the premise, the answers shown here
should help you understand the concepts).
- What is the population of interest? All doctoral
students and people with doctorates in the US.
- What are the constructs
being studied? Height,
- How are the constructs
- Be specific – what is/are
the key variables? how will measurement be carried out? what are the
units of measurement? Intelligence will be measured using the Stanford-Binet test,
which will provides scores with no units. Heights
will be measured in inches by the researcher using a standard stadiometer
and a standard procedure for each person in the sample. Measurements will
be taken at roughly the same time of day.
- What is/are the
dependent/outcome/predicted variable(s)? IQ score
- What are the
independent/explanatory/predictor variables? Height
- Are there other variables of interest? [e.g.
demographics] Perhaps the
researcher wants to know if the relationship is different based on Gender,
Ethnicity, etc. These would be other variables of interest, and possibly
specific hypotheses would be stated about them.
- What variables are controlled for? Similar to Q8. What
variables are you not particularly interested in for this study, but may have an effect on the IQs of the people involved? You would study them too, to make sure
that the effect of height on IQ still holds true after taking
into account any interference from these other variables.
- What is the data source? Primary data
collection from Georgia State’s faculty and doctoral students.
- How was the sample selected? A stratified random sample will be selected based on gender.
(this is just one possibility)
- What is the sample size? We need a
deeper discussion to answer this question – likely in February. We will
discuss some rules of thumb for sample size in class. For papers you read,
the number should be reported by the authors.
What analyses were conducted? Regression Analysis to test the relationship between height and IQ,
while controlling for …