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Date Created: 10/29/15
Introduction to Statistics and Explanation in Science Why do psychology majors to take classes on research methods and statistics All psychology is based on research Psychology and all other sciences seek to answer questions PSY 301 Psychological research is concerned with behavior How do people respond in certain social situations psychology A e workers more productive in the workplace when certain incentives are introduced psychology How well can people discriminate different sounds gt psychology How does reasoning change as a person grows from a child to an adult to a senior citizen chology syohology So why statistics As scientists we strive to express our knowledge and understanding in quantitative terms Statistics 2 kinds are ways of dealing with numbers measures thatallow us to do a variety of things 1 Descriptive statistics summarize the data in hand the sample 2 nferential statistics draw inferences abouta larger most often functionally infinitequot set of data the population allow us to determine if two more numbers measures are different Sources of Knowledge How do we understand and know about the universe in everyday life 39 Common sense 7 Tm m L l r t l Author ty 7 Tl l l r r l TenactyTrad t on m a vegetarian You only use 1 of your brain Emp r 2 sn Gilkey has a soraggly beard Which table is bigger Sources of Knowledge ow do we understand and know about the universe in yday life Common sense uthority Tenacitymadition Empiricism Sources of Knowledge in Science cityflradition r r l EmpIrIcIsm Scientific Method May use some of the previous methods BUT has some special characteristics planned systematic data driven usually quantitative repeata testable hypotheses unbiased objective public behavior is NOT random determinism and the causes can be found ldiscoverabilityl Experimental Method one process used in the scient ic method Manipulate independent variables Measure dependent variables Control other relevant variables eliminate confounding variables minimize extraneous variables Cycle of research hypotheticodeductive approach Initial formulation 217 of the theory st of predictions using the scienti c mamod Logic versus Experiment Axistode Logic shows that heavier objects fall m b ground faster that lighm objectsquot Goals of the scientific method 1 Describe behavior 2 Explain behavior 3 Predict behavior 4 Control behavior A few Gilkeyt Science is clearly not the only way of knowing Hard to argue that it is even the best Many things that are important are only indirectly knowable by science 5 certa n y effected by b ases erseverance Be efi Confirmation bias Availability heuristic Sc ence s not truth t is a set of procedures to establish and evaluate knowle lJ co e The nclusions are always changing Theories that are known to be false or incomplete are often very useful UNIVERSITY OF WASHlNGTON Psychology Writing Center Phone 2066858278 3937 15th Avenue NE psywcuwashingtonedu Box 351 525 http depm washington edupsywchandoum shtml Style Points for Scienti c Writing Scientific writing follows its own style conventions According to these conventions some ways of writing are not useful when writing scientifically Others are just plain wrong even if the same words are acceptable in other types of writing such as history or literature We have compiled the list below from the quottip lists of others on scientific writing as well as from common errors that we come across at the Psychology Writing Center 1quot Sentence and paragraph construction Aim for brevity Avoid long sentences Comprehension falls rapidly as sentences exceed about 16 words Try to avoid writing more than one thought per sentence Don39t run on A semicolon can serve as a period Unless you have a good reason to use a semicolon just use a period Avoid overlong paragraphs lfyou have fewer than two to three paragraphs per page look for natural breaks If none exist you are probably alternating between themes or ideas and may need to reorganize N Passive vs active voice Active voice is usually clearer and more to the point Replace quotnests are built with quotbirds build nestsquot Write quotI foundquot instead of quot it was discovered Don39t be afraid to use the passive voice if it really is clearer as we do in this paper but favor using subject verb object Passive It is recommended by the authors of the present study that tribbles are not given to Klingons Active We recommend that you do not give tribbles to Klingons Passive The tribbles were exterminated by the Klingons Active The Klingons exterminated the tribbles 5 Correct word use Make sure that you understand the meaning of words that you use The following words are commonly misused in scientific writing Signi cant Use in a statistical context only The opposite of significant is quotnonsignificantquot not quotinsignficantquot Significance refers to differences not resu ts Yes The differences between the control and experimental groups were nonsigni cant No The differences were insignificant The results were nonsignificant This theory has significant implications for women as well as men Confound A confound refers to some unplanned factor that may have affected the results of an experiment An uncontrolled factor that equally affects both experimental and control groups is not usually seen as a confound No The results were confounded because the thermostat failed during testing on a hot day and participants in both experimental and control groups expressed discomfort Does not describe a confound Yes The thermostat failed and room temperature rose to uncomfortable levels only during testing of the control group which may have confounded the results Copyright 1997 2004 University of Washington stylepdf 040904 Less vs Fewer Less When referring to collective noun eg quot less time Fewer When referring to multiple items eg quotfewer copulationsquot Which vs That As a general rule if changing quotwhichquot to quotthatquot does not alter the meaning then quotthatquot is probably correct Former and Latter Avoid using these words to refer back Doing so doesn39t save many words and too often it makes the reader backtrack to determine which was which Because vs Since quotBecausequot is often clearer than quotsincequot P Correct verb tense Verb tense can be tricky so choose it with care Keep verbs parallel Use the present tense for generalizations and stable conditions For example use present tense to describe a theory that is currently held quot Theory of mind refers to Use past tense for specific citations and when referring to specific results eg quotSudley 1969 showed quotWe found Never report descriptions of behavior in the future or subjunctive tense quot The female will would vocalize becomes simply quot The female vocalized In general there are always exceptions these are the verb tenses typically used in the following sections of a research paper Abstract past tense Theom present tense Methods Results past tense Discussion often alternates between past tense when discussing results of current study quotwe found and present tense our results are consistent with or quotthe theory of natural selection predicts that 5 Correct noun use Nouns are regularly misused as adjectives This habit leads to the ugly practice of piling up nouns in front of the noun they modify ie a quottype II motor skill nest construction behaviorquot 6 Needless words quot Vigorous writing is concise A sentence should contain no unnecessary words for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline but that every word tellquot Strunk amp White 1979 p 23 This advice is true about writing in general but lean writing is particularly important in scientific writing because of its emphasis on conveying quantitative information efficiently Use superlatives sparingly or not at all If a word expresses an absolute quality or condition the comparative has no place You can almost always delete quotveryquot quotquitequot quotratherquot quotsomewhatquot and similar words Copyright 19972004 University of Warhington xtylepdf 040904 Avoid needless circumlocutions The construction quotwas dependent uponquot has the same meaning as quot depended on quot There were two chicks that peckedquot becomes quot Two chicks pecked Don39t use cliches eg quotplays a role Below we list examples of these and other words that are useless or incorrect in scientific writing with suggested alternatives Don39t use Better fact evidence prove support plays an important role is important because due to the fact that because a decreased number of fewer time period time longer time period longer brown in color brown round in shape round has been shown to be is it is possible that may demonstrate show exhibit show utilize use in other words thushencetherefore adverbs eliminate in this experimentstudy eliminate it is interesting to note that eliminate it would thus appear that eliminate it may seem reasonable to suppose that eliminate Interestingly eliminate 7 Proofread Remember your paper has your name on it It represents you Don39t be responsible for careless errors such as these HThe tribbles where divided intotwo groups eight both groups was fed a deit containing 8 protein Copyright 19972004 University of Wilmington xtylepdf 040904 References and Suggested Reading Strunk W Jr amp White EB 1979 The elements ofstyle 3ml ed New York MacMillan Pechenik J 1997 A short guide to writing about biology 3ml ed New York AddisonWesley Zinsser W 1998 On writing well 6 11 ed New York HarperCollins We gratefully and shamelessly drew many of the examples used here from the article quot On Writing Clear Economic Prosequot by George Barlow former editor ofEthology Copyright 19972004 University of Warhington stylepdf 040904 Psy301 Descriptive Statistics Psy301 into iu Descriptive vs Interential Statistics Descriptive Statistics 7 D W Psy 301 Example You open a men s shoe store Since st eone ld usthat the average shoe ze for a man is 9 we I l ey and buy 1000 ze 9 shoes What happens Y u go broke Psy 301 Example You I a men s shoe store You try again but tl ne you borrow money and r DL y 1100 pairs of shoes 100 of each of size 4 14 What happens Psy 301 Example You I a men s shoe store After a few weeks theing open here is what your stock of shoes I r s like Y did not take intoaccount that there are not equal numbers of feet of each size Psy 301 Example You a men s shoe store After a few weeks of being open here is what you stock of shoes looks like Notice that this is an inverted normal distribution and the mean is at size 9 Psy 301 Example You a men s shoe store UMFHEHIE Conclusion to Duythe correct amount of stock you need to know the typical score central tendency and how the scores are spread out variability Psy 301 Descriptive statistics are used to summarize a set of data intojust t couple of numbers that re resent the entire data se Measures of A single number that is used to represent the g eneral magnitude of scores in the data set is used as t 39 value of the set Psy 301 Measures of Mode the most frequent score Ex 597468241351469875241 ordered am 3 2 1 32222 Mode Psy 301 Measures of Mode there is no mode when all the scores are different or there is the same number of many scores sometimes there is more than one mode Psy 301 Unimodal distribution 4 Test scams Fig 4 3 Heiman p 71 Psy 301 Bimodal distribution 12345678910111213 Testscores Figure 4 4 Heiman p 71 Psy 301 Measures of Mode there is no mode when all the scores are different or there is the same number of many scores sometimes there is more than one mode Limitation does not take into account other scores so comments about distribution may be misleading Psy 301 Measures of Med an the m dd e score Oran ordered set Ex odd of scores 381111 13243546 Median Psy301 Measures of J Med an them dd e score Mamie an Ex even of scores 3 811 11 1213 24351618 Median Psy301 Measures of Med an Limitation ioes not take into account extreme scores Psy 301 Measures of Mean the ar thmet 2 average of scores this is the mathematical center oft 1e s BU i distribution of score T it is not the middle score it is the computed center Mean 7 EX N Psy 301 Measures of Mammewmmacwmwedwm Mean Y 2X N Ex 381111121324354648 7 381111121324354648 10 Mean Psy 301 Measures of Mean deviation of any score X 7 keep the sign the sum of deviation scores for any distribution will be zero 0 Psy 301 Table 4 1 Scar minus Menusmu equal Dzviarian II I n It Score minus MeanScon zq
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