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**Chapter 2**

**Statistics in the Context of Scientific Research**

**Part A**: **Overview and Suggestions**

This chapter opens with an overview of scientific research. The goal is to convey the point that behavioral scientists

seek to answer questions. Answering those questions requires the use of statistics. Thus, to understand statistical

methods, a student must know at least the fundamentals of research methodology.

Having students construct a questionnaire allows for a discussion and application of many of the concepts presented

in the beginning of this chapter. The need for empirically testable questions and explicit research hypotheses can be

stressed. Discuss what it means to evaluate a hypothesis and why a hypothesis that cannot be refuted by empirical

data is not scientifically useful. Have students provide examples of untestable hypotheses and how such hypotheses

might be reformulated into statements that would be empirically testable.

In discussing research methods, the idea of conducting ethical research should be discussed. Several sources exist on

the Tuskegee Syphilis Research project conducted from 1932 to 1972 in the United States. This study and its ethical

failures tend to be concrete enough for students to comprehend the real threat of unethical research and its impact on

human subjects. For further information on the Tuskegee syphilis research project, see the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention website http://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm or the Online Ethics Center website

http://www.onlineethics.org/CMS/edu/precol/scienceclass/sectone/cs3.aspx. Nova (1993) produced a 60-minute

video called the “Deadly Deception” which contains personal statements by subjects and researchers involved in the

Tuskegee syphilis research project. By showing a brief clip of this study, students can be encouraged to discuss the

ethical responsibilities of behavioral scientists.

If students are asked to formulate research hypotheses, then a discussion of measurement follows naturally. To help

understand measurement, it is beneficial to ask students to suggest alternative ways of measuring the same

behavioral concept. For instance, how might the humor of a set of cartoons be measured? One approach simply

might be to identify the cartoons as belonging to one of two categories–humorous or not humorous. Or, the cartoons

could be rank ordered from the most humorous to the least humorous. As another approach, subjects might complete

a 7-point rating scale on a dimension from 1–not at all humorous to 7–extremely humorous for each cartoon.

Finally, we could time the length of laughter of a person to each cartoon.

Students relate easily to the idea of rank ordering that characterizes ordinal measurement. Ordinal measurement is

illustrated by a common elementary school experience–lining up according to height. Other examples of ordinal

scales are class ranks determined from grade point averages, or college grades, such as A, B, C, D, and F. To initiate

a discussion of characteristics of an ordinal scale, ask students to consider that if student 1 receives an A, student 2,

a B, and student 3, a C for statistics, what does this tell you about their performance in the course? Or suppose you

know that the top ten disease-related causes of death in rank order are: heart disease, cancer, stroke, lung disease,

diabetes, pneumonia and flu, kidney disease, blood poisoning, liver disease, and hypertension. What does this

knowledge tell you about how likely someone is to die of diabetes? Ordinal scaling often is presented in articles

found in newspapers or magazines, such as the top ten areas in which to retire or live, the top three cars in owner

satisfaction, or the top five causes of death.

As discussed in the text, many measures used in the behavioral sciences (for example, psychological test scores,

rating scales) seem to lie in a “gray” area; that is, they appear to convey more quantitative information than ordinal

measurement, but it is difficult to argue that they achieve interval measurement. The distinguishing characteristic of

an interval scale is that it possesses an arbitrary zero point; thus a value of zero on an interval scale does not

represent the absence of the characteristic being measured. Examination scores provide a convenient example for

discussion. For example, does a score of zero on an exam mean the total absence of knowledge of the material?

Exam scores also can be used to illustrate the distinction between discrete and continuous variables. For example, a

student may receive a score of 84 or 85 on a multiple choice examination, but in most instances a score of 84.37

cannot be given. Thus, the exam score exists at specific and discrete values and values between those points do not

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16

**Chapter 2**

exist. A continuous variable is easy to describe using height and weight. Ask the class to consider the case of two

people who both report their height as 6 feet. Is it likely that either or both are exactly 6 feet tall? Students will

realize that although both individuals were assigned the same value, some small but real difference probably exists

between them. An argument can then be introduced about the accuracy of measurements and that a continuous

variable can be defined as a variable that could theoretically be measured to finer and finer levels of accuracy.

In the discussion of continuous measurement, the idea of real limits is important. An example that most students can

understand is what constitutes and A, B, C, etc. So, even if an A is defined as a 90% or above, what grade do most

students expect to receive if they earn an 89.5%? Of course, it is best to use the grades and percentages used on your

campus in this example.

Part B: Goals and Objectives

Goal 2.1

Students will identify what constitutes science.

Objective 2.1.a.

Students will define and identify examples of scientific pursuit of knowledge.

Objective 2.1.b.

Students will define and identify the role of the hypothesis in scientific research.

Goal 2.2

Students will identify uses and limitations of major types of research.

Objective 2.2.a.

Students will identify and define six different types of research methods: case study, naturalistic

observation, archival research, survey, experiment, quasi-experiment.

Objective 2.2.b.

Students will identify the uses and limitations for six different types of research methods.

Objective 2.2.c.

Students will identify the basic role of the hypothesis and application of statistics in each of the six types of

research methods.

Objective 2.2.d.

Students will understand that some uses of statistics require different research methodology than other uses

of statistics.

Objective 2.2.e.

Students will identify the importance and the impact of ethical decisions on scientific research with humans

and animals.

Goal 2.3

Students will understand basic issues with regard to measurement in statistics.

Objective 2.3.a.

Students will identify, define, and provide an example of the four scales of measurement: nominal, ordinal,

interval, and ratio.

Objective 2.3.b.

Students will identify, define, and provide an example of qualitative and quantitative data.

Objective 2.3.c.

Students will further classify quantitative data as being either discrete or continuous.

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Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank for Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences, 4e

Objective 2.3.d.

Students will comprehend the role of the real limit in continuous data.

Goal 2.4

Students will know and appropriately use terminology and symbols in statistics.

Objective 2.4.a.

Students will define, and when appropriate, provide examples of the terminology and symbols necessary

for mastering the objectives listed in this chapter.

Part C: Chapter Outline

• What is science

o One method for the acquisition of knowledge

• Scientific method

o Scientific question

Allows answer to be obtained through collection of empirical data

Empirical data

• Score or measurement obtained from observations

o Research hypothesis

Statement of expected or predicted relationship between two or more variables Research

methods

Approach scientists use to collect data in order to develop or evaluate a research

hypothesis

Used to empirically test hypothesis

Select the type of research method based on question/hypothesis

o Collect data

o Analyze data

o Reach conclusion

• Types of research methodsCase study

Fully detailed examination of a single case

Used for rare or new conditions/situations

Used for hypothesis building

o Naturalistic observation

Unobtrusive examination of organisms in their natural habitat

Used to find associations between variables

Used for hypothesis building and non-causal hypothesis testing

o Archival records

Use of data collected at a different time for a different purpose to test a current noncausal hypothesis

Answering questions by examining data from existing records

Can be used for hypothesis building and testing

o Survey research

Obtaining data through oral interviews or paper and pencil tasks

Test non-causal hypotheses

Of special note

• Survey’s are easy to design, but hard to design well

• Measurement error can be a real issue

o Experiment

Researcher has control over the independent variable

Subjects are randomly assigned to receive different levels of the independent variable

Independent variable (IV)

• Variable manipulated (controlled) by experimenter

• Used in experiments to see whether it causes changes DV

Dependent variable (DV)

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Chapter 2

• Variable that is measured

• Variable that is affected by the IV

Used to test a causal hypothesis: a change in the IV causes a change in the DV

Control

• Not manipulated, remains untouched for comparisons

Causal hypothesis

• A change in IV causes a change in DV

Subject or participant: person or animal who takes part in a research study

o Quasi-experiment

Resembles an experiment

Used when you have subject variables (SV) and not independent variables

• SV is a variable that cannot be manipulated, only measured

• SV is treated like IV

Cannot demonstrate that a change in the SV causes a change in DV, but can be used to

test non-causal hypotheses

o Operational definitionProcedures used to make observations, to manipulate IV, or measure DV

o Sampling error

Inaccuracy caused by individual differences

o Chance difference

Difference observed in experiment due to sampling error and not because of IV

• Measurement

o Process of assigning numbers to variables following a set of rules

• Four types of measurements

o Nominal

Classification of measured variable into different categories

Qualitative data

• Providing information on kind or quality of the variables instead of on amount

o Ordinal

Ranking of objects on an attribute

The amount of a variable is placed in order of magnitude along a dimension

o Interval

Numerical representation of measure

Includes information from nominal and ordinal

Also includes interval information

Assigned a number representing equal amounts of magnitude

Does not have true zero

o Ratio

Includes everything that interval measures have

True zero

o Quantitative

• Data that differ by amount or numerical value

• Two types of quantitative data

o Discrete

A variable that can take on only a finite or countable set of

values within its limits

o Continuous

A variable that can take on an infinite set of values within its

limits

• Real limits of a number

o The points that are midway between the number and the next lower and

next higher number on a scale used to make the measurement

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Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank for Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences, 4e

Part D: Key Terms and Symbols

archival records

case study

continuous variable

discrete variable

empirical data

experiment

informed consent

institutional review board

interval measurement

lower real limit of a number

measurement

naturalistic observation

nominal measurement

operational definition

ordinal measurement

qualitative data

quantitative data

quasi-experiment

ratio measurement

real limits of a number

research hypothesis

research method

survey research

upper real limit of a number

Part E: Discussion Questions

The following questions can be assigned to students for homework or can be used for an interteaching activity,

assessment, or discussion.

1. What is science? How does it differ from a non-scientific discipline like astrology?

2. What is the role of the research hypothesis in statistics?

3. Identify the strengths and limitations of each the six types of research methods discussed in the textbook.

Identify an example for each type of research method.

4. What constitutes an experiment? Be sure to define random assignment, independent variable, and

dependent variable. Of all of the types of research methods, what can an experiment do that no other type

of research method can do?

5. What is the purpose of quasi-experimental research method? Under what circumstances would a researcher

opt for a quasi-experiment over an experiment?

6. Why is it important that before you begin to the interpret data of a research study you know how the

variables were operationally defined?

7. What are the four types of measurement? Which ones are qualitative or quantitative? Which ones can be

discrete or continuous? Why are there different types of measurement? How might these differences affect

the type of statistics used?

8. For each of the following examples of a measurement, identify whether it is qualitative or quantitative and

whether it is discrete or continuous.

a. A person’s country of birth

b. Time taken to react in a decision making task

c. Religiosity as measured by a scale from 7 to 49

d. Ranking of humorous commercials

e. Number of children in a household

9. Why have we spent the first two chapters discussing aspects of research instead of beginning with

calculations of statistics?

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Chapter 2

**Chapter 2**

**STATISTICS IN THE CONTEXT OF**

**SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH**

2-1 A scientific question allows an answer to be obtained by .

a. collecting statistics

b. statistical testing

* c. collecting empirical data

d. collecting population parameters

Information: p 18, K, 2

2-2 The word is used to refer to sensory experience or observation.

a. solvable

b. score

c. intuitive

* d. empirical

Information: p 18, K, 2

2-3 The term empirical means .

a. theoretically possible

* b. observable

c. independent

d. intuitive

Information, p 18, K, 2

2-4 A general approach used by a behavioral scientist to collect data is called a(n) .

* a. research method

b. empirical method

c. statistical method

d. operational definition

Information: p 19, K, 2

2-5 Using involves observing behaviors occurring in natural settings without intruding

into the situation.

a. archival records

* b. naturalistic observation

c. experimentation

d. survey research

Information: p 19, K, 2

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Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank for Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences, 4e

2-6 A psychologist unobtrusively observes children in a preschool to study the children’s

interactions with each other. The research method used by this psychologist is called .

a. experimentation

* b. naturalistic observation

c. survey research

d. archival records research

Information: p 19, E, 2

2-7 Using involves answering scientific questions from information in existing records.

* a. archival records

b. naturalistic observation

c. experimentation

d. survey research

Information: p 20, K, 2

2-8 A psychologist studies crime reports and city census values to determine if the amount of

crime is related to population density. The research method used by this psychologist is

called .

a. experimentation

b. naturalistic observation

c. survey research

* d. archival records research

Information: p 20, E, 2

2-9 Using involves obtaining data from oral or written interviews with people.

a. archival records

b. naturalistic observation

c. experimentation

* d. survey research

Information: p 20, K, 2

2-10 You are asked to fill out a questionnaire indicating your preferences for types of food

when you eat in a restaurant. The research method used here is called .

a. experimentation

b. naturalistic observation

* c. survey research

d. archival records research

Information: p 20, E, 2

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Chapter 2

2-11 involves manipulating one or more independent variables in a carefully controlled

situation.

a. Archival records

b. Naturalistic observation research

* c. Experimentation

d. Survey research

Information: p 21, K, 2

2-12 A psychologist manipulates the type of instructions participants are given when

performing a task. One group of participants is told their performance on a task is

affected only by chance, whereas a second group of participants is told their performance

on the task relates to their ability levels. The research method used by this psychologist

is called .

* a. experimentation

b. naturalistic observation

c. quasi-experimentation

d. archival records research

Information: p 21, E, 2

2-13 When it is either not possible or unethical to manipulate an independent variable, which

research method would be optimal?

a. operational definition

b. experimentation

* c. quasi-experimentation

d. inferring

Information: p 21, K, 2

2-14 A researcher was interested in evaluating the effect of gender on detecting whether

another person is lying or not. What research method would be optimal?

a. naturalistic observation

b. archival records research

c. experimentation

* d. quasi-experimentation

Information: 21, E, 2

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Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank for Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences, 4e

2-15 A(n) specifies the procedures used to manipulate an independent variable or to

measure a dependent variable.

a. research method

* b. operational definition

c. archival record

d. research design

Information: p 22, K, 2

2- 16 A researcher was interested in studying the effects of a new treatment on people who are

currently receiving treatment for obsession compulsion disorder. The participants are

randomly assigned to one of two groups: new treatment and a control group where no

treatment is given. How might an IRB review such a study?

a. The IRB will approve the study because the potential benefit out weighs the risk of

not receiving treatment.

* b. The IRB will not approve the study because it is unethical to deny all treatment to the

“control group.”

c. The IRB will not review the study as the risk is minimal, and each participant has a

right to select their desired treatment.

d. The IRB will approve the study because the researchers have included a control

group.

Information: p 23, E, 3

2-17 Which of the following would the IRB be looking for in a request by a researcher to use

human subjects in an experiment.

* a. Informed consent of the subject.

b. Highest quality research.

c. Good record keeping, including subjects’ names.

d. Absolutely no risk to the subject.

Information: p 23, A, 3

2-18 Assigning numbers to variables following a set of rules refers to the process of .

a. summarizing

b. numbering

* c. measuring

d. inferring

Information: p 24, K, 1

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Chapter 2

2-19 Classification of a measured variable into different categories is measurement.

a. interval

* b. nominal

c. ordinal

d. ratio

Information: 24, K, 2

2-20 Recording a juror’s decision as either 1 for “guilty” or 2 for “not guilty” represents

measurement.

a. interval

b. ordinal

c. ratio

* d. nominal

Information: 24, A, 2

2-21 If you classify individuals by assigning the value 1 to males and the value 2 to females,

you are using measurement.

* a. nominal

b. ordinal

c. interval

d. ratio

Information: p 24, A, 3

2-22 The fifth place finisher in a ski race was wearing the number 57. In this example the

number 57 represents measurement.

* a. nominal

b. ordinal

c. interval

d. ratio

Information: p 25, A, 2

2-23 Nominal measurements, which categorize the measured variable, are called .

a. empirical

b. statistically useful

* c. qualitative

d. quantitative

Information: p 25, K, 2

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Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank for Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences, 4e

2-24 Arranging characteristics of a variable along an ordered continuum from largest to

smallest is an example of measurement.

a. interval

b. nominal

* c. ordinal

d. ratio

Information: p 25, K, 2

2-25 Rank ordering students on their grade point average results in measurement.

a. interval

b. nominal

* c. ordinal

d. ratio

Information: p 25, A, 2

2-26 Arranging a group of people from shortest to tallest in height is an example of

measurement.

a. nominal

* b. ordinal

c. interval

d. ratio

Information: p 25, A, 2

2-27 Determining dominance order by ordering animals along the dimension of “most

dominant” to “least dominant” represents measurement.

a. interval

b. nominal

c. ratio

* d. ordinal

Information: p 25, A, 2

2-28 The 17th place finisher in a road race was wearing the number 285. The number 17 in

this example represents measurement.

a. nominal

* b. ordinal

c. interval

d. ratio

Information: p 25, A, 2

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Chapter 2

2-29 Assigning numerical values to a variable with an arbitrary zero point is measurement.

* a. interval

b. nominal

c. ordinal

d. ratio

Information: p 26, K, 2

2-30 Which of the following measurement scales has an arbitrary zero point?

a. Nominal

b. Ordinal

* c. Interval

d. Ratio

Information: p 26, K, 2

2-31 The Fahrenheit and Centigrade temperature scales are examples of measurement

scales.

a. nominal

b. ordinal

c. ratio

* d. interval

Information: p 26, A, 1

2-32 Variable A is measured on an interval scale with values that range from 0 to 10. Which

of the following statements must be true?

a. The value 0 represents the complete absence of variable A.

b. The value 8 represents twice the amount of variable A as does the value 4.

* c. The difference in the amount of A from 2 to 3 is the same as the difference from 6 to

7.

d. All the above statements are true.

Information: p 26, A, 3

2-33 The commonly-used 5- or 7-point rating scale with values ranging from strongly agree to

strongly disagree represents at least measurement.

a. interval

b. nominal

* c. ordinal

d. ratio

Information: p 26, A, 3

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Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank for Statistical Concepts for the Behavioral Sciences, 4e

2-34 Data obtained from rating scales often are treated statistically as representing

measurement.

* a. interval

b. nominal

c. ratio

d. average

Information: p 26, K, 3

2-35 A set of rating scales that are added or averaged is called a rating scale.

* a. summated

b. cumulative

c. composite

d. multidimensional

Information: p 27, K, 3

2-36 Assigning numerical values to a variable with a scale that possesses a physically real zero

point is measurement.

a. interval

* b. ratio

c. nominal

d. ordinal

Information: p 28, K, 2

2-37 Time, length and weight are variables that typically are measured by scales.

a. interval

b. nominal

c. ordinal

* d. ratio

Information: p 28, A, 2

2-38 A person who is 50 years old can be said to be twice as old as a person who is 25 years

old, because the measurement of age is made with a scale.

a. nominal

b. ordinal

* c. ratio

d. interval

Information: p 28, A, 2

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Chapter 2

2-39 A bathroom scale used to measure a person’s weight provides a(n) measurement.

a. nominal

* b. ratio

c. ordinal

d. interval

Information: p 28, A, 3

2-40 The sixth place finisher of a marathon finished in a time of 156 minutes. The number

156 in this example represents measurement.

a. nominal

b. ordinal

c. interval

* d. ratio

Information: p 28, A, 2

2-41 Measurements that provide numerical information about the variable measured are called

.

a. empirical

* b. quantitative

c. statistically useful

d. qualitative

Information: p 28, K, 2

2-42 Given a choice, which of the following scales is preferred for measuring a variable?

a. Interval

b. Nominal

c. Ordinal

* d. Ratio

Information: p 29, E, 1

2-43 Which of the following is the correct order for identifying the four types of measurement

scales from least to most information provided?

a. Nominal-interval-ratio-ordinal

b. Ratio-nominal-interval-ordinal

* c. Nominal-ordinal-interval-ratio

d. Ratio-ordinal-interval-nominal

Information: p 29, E, 1