PSYC 515 – Research Methods And Statistics In Psychology II

PSYC 515

Discussion: Research Project Review Assignment Instructions

 

Overview

This assignment consists of presenting your Results and Discussion sections of your Research Project and providing professional feedback to your peers. These activities will enable you to continue honing your scientific writing skills (being concise and precise) and using the systematic organization of a professional empirical paper. It forces you to consider your results within a bigger picture – how do your findings fit, contradict, and expand our current understanding in the field? Try to see multiple perspectives in the interpretations to avoid confirmation bias. Sharing your research findings with the scientific and lay community is essential to expanding our understanding of mental processes and behavior, with the ultimate goal of bettering the lives of ourselves and others. Receiving and providing constructive feedback related to scientific writing is a professional skill that deepens as one’s knowledge of research methods and statistics expands. As we near the end of this course, this is your chance to illustrate your deepened understanding of these concepts.

 

General Instructions

To prepare for this assignment please review all relevant documents / instructions listed in the Research Project Overview related to this assignment. Please see the directions and due dates for the thread and replies below, making sure to include all components for maximum points.

 

Thread Instructions

For the final discussion board topic thread, you will present your Results, Discussion, and Reference portions of your Research Project to your peers. You will submit this as a single word document to ensure your formatting remains intact. As always, use APA formatting and conventions for a Professional Paper (e.g., running head, page numbers, heading levels, and components). No quotes are allowed – paraphrase, put information into your own words, and cite appropriately. Please use the systematic organization presented below:

1. Results – this will consist of at least two paragraphs, one table, and one figure

a. Paragraph 1: Demographic section. State your total sample size and report the descriptive statistics for at least one demographic question (or refer them to a Figure that displays your demographic data – although this figure is optional). Note think about the scale of measurement of your demographic variable, as it will determine the most appropriate measure of central tendency and dispersion to be used. (And yes – this information typically goes in a Method section but we will put it here for the purposes of this assignment).

i. For instance, if your demographic is nominal or ordinal, you would not present mean / standard deviation (e.g., How can you interpret a gender mean of 1.4?) Make sure you present information that is meaningful.

ii. With nominal demographic data, present the percent in each category (e.g., % males / % females, or % for each race group).

iii. If your data is scale, then you can present the mean / standard deviation (e.g., write-in age, so your sample age ranges from 18 – 25, with a mean of 22.2 and a standard deviation of 3.1).

b. Paragraph 2: Topic sentence stating the purpose of your study (i.e. your research hypothesis). Then, state the statistical test used to assess it (refer the reader to your Table of SPSS output here). Then, write the statistical test results using complete sentences (including the statistical notation and whether it was significant). Similar to homework assignments, you need to fully state what the results are in meaningful terms (just stating it is or is not significant isn’t sufficient).

i. Include confidence intervals, effect size, and post-hoc analyses, as applicable.

ii. Call-out to the Table and Figure within the results.

iii. Include the Table and Figure within your Results section (they do not need to be placed in an Appendix, rather place them following the formatting guidelines for inclusion within a Results section – see Section 7 of the APA Manual).

1. Table must include all relevant SPSS output. *Note this is not typically included in a research paper but is a unique requirement of the assignment as it gives you practice on APA format of tables and helps the instructor ensure you accurately analyzed and reported your results. Do NOT include the SPSS output for your demographic data – this should be presented either as text and/or as a figure for this assignment.

2. Figure must be related to your tested hypothesis.

2. Discussion – include the following components in this order:

a. Start with a review of the goal of your study and your findings.

b. Identify any limitations of your study (e.g., unique characteristics of the sample or sampling method, limited or large amounts of variability in your dependent variable)

i. Do not be superficial. Everyone had a sample size of 20. Yes, this is small. No, it will not “count” as a limitation. Limitations should demonstrate a depth of thought to your specific research design procedures.

c. Integrate your results with research you discussed in your Introduction (or find new articles if you prefer). * don’t forget to cite appropriately – see Section 8 in the APA Manual!*

i. Note you must cite at least three articles whose results are comparable to yours at some level (your results can augment, support, contradict, et cet). Fully explain these comparisons using relevant information from the other articles (e.g., differences in target populations, different instrument / survey used to measure the construct of interest).

d. Provide the “big picture” (what results mean for the field, public policy, and/or for mankind)

e. Offer one suggestion for a future study that builds off of your results. Why is it important to the field and/or public?

3. References (see Sections 9 – 10 in the APA Manual):

a. Include a reference section for all articles cited in your results and discussion (there will be at least 3).

 

Submit your Results, Discussion, and References as a single word document to ensure formatting remains intact. Your topic thread must be at least 600 words and is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday of Module: Week 6.

Reply Instructions

This assignment consists of replies to two peer threads. Respond as if you had been asked to review a peer’s manuscript being prepared for publication (thus, you can use first person). No quotes are allowed unless you are quoting your peer to indicate a particular strength or weakness . However, these quotes do not count towards the word minimum. Replies to your peers should be thoughtful, educated, and professional. Avoid unsubstantiated opinions or claims, personal comments, or general comments. For each peer reply, type your response into the discussion area, making sure to address all of the following components:

· Identify two unique strengths of the research and/or assignment. Clearly indicate each unique strength numerically (e.g., “One strength of your study…”)

· Was the relevance of articles cited in the Discussion clear?

· Did the writer use appropriate terms throughout the paper based on the hypothesis, research design, and test selected (e.g., most likely the researcher did not manipulate any variables, so there should be no causal inferences)?

· Identify at least THREE areas that could be improved upon. Be specific (e.g., topic sentences in a specific section, flow of discussion, contradictory statements). If you quote to indicate the specific areas of confusion, that is fine but note it will not go towards your word count minimum.

· Use numbers to explicitly label your three suggestions (e.g., “First,”, or even use a numbered list as long as all written components use complete sentences).

· Cite specific sections of the APA Publication Manual or other professional source (e.g., assignment instructions, class presentations or other resources) to support each suggestion.

· Include a Reference section (one entry minimum).

 

Please note inclusion of quotes or any of the following will result in  loss of points:

· “Great job on your discussion post,”

· “I totally agree with everything you said,”

· “Good luck in the rest of the class,” etc.

 

Your two replies must be a minimum of 150 words each (references and quotes do not count) and are due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of Module: Week 6.

· Identify two unique strengths of the research and/or assignment. Clearly indicate each unique strength numerically (e.g., “One strength of your study…”)

· Was the relevance of articles cited in the Discussion clear?

· Did the writer use appropriate terms throughout the paper based on the hypothesis, research design, and test selected (e.g., most likely the researcher did not manipulate any variables, so there should be no causal inferences)?

· Identify at least THREE areas that could be improved upon. Be specific (e.g., topic sentences in a specific section, flow of discussion, contradictory statements). If you quote to indicate the specific areas of confusion, that is fine but note it will not go towards your word count minimum.

· Use numbers to explicitly label your three suggestions (e.g., “First,”, or even use a numbered list as long as all written components use complete sentences).

· Cite specific sections of the APA Publication Manual or other professional source (e.g., assignment instructions, class presentations or other resources) to support each suggestion.

· Include a Reference section (one entry minimum)

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