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**Week 1**

**DQ 1**

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**Types of Data**. Give an example of a research question that includes an independent and a dependent variable. These are usually presented as, "How does A affect B?", where A is your independent variable and B is your dependent variable. Describe the independent and dependent variables in terms of whether they are nominal (also called categorical), ordinal, interval, or ratio variables (interval or ratio variables are also called continuous variables). How would you study this research question?

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**DQ 2**

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**Measures of Central Tendency**. For this discussion, come up with 20 different data points (set of data) and enter them into the first column in an Excel spreadsheet. The data points can be any numbers you want as long as there are 20 of them. Your set of data should reflect *one** *of the following criteria:

Create a set of data for which the mean is greater than the median.

or

Create a set of data for which the mean and median are equal but are different from the mode.

You will then use the descriptive statistics option in Excel, which is explained in Chapter 1 of your course text. You should get an output similar to Figure 1.2. This output must contain the following values: mean, standard error, median, mode, standard deviation, sample variance, kurtosis, skewness, range, minimum, maximum, sum, count. Begin your discussion by reporting your results for each of these values. Based on this output, which single value best describes this set of data and why? If you could pick three of these values instead of only one, which three would you choose and why? It is important to note that the answers to these questions may be different for each of you since you are each using unique sets of data.

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**Week 2**

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**DQ 1**

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**Graphs**. Give one example of health-related data (a variable) that can be represented by a pie chart. Do the same for a bar chart and a histogram. Explain why each data example you selected (there will be a total of three different variables) is well represented by the corresponding graph.

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**DQ 2**

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**Standard Normal Distribution**. Review Chapter 3 of your course text, which introduces probability and the standard normal distribution. When comparing data from different distributions, what is the benefit of transforming data from these distributions to conform to the standard distribution? What role do *z*-scores play in this transformation of data from multiple distributions to the standard normal distribution? What is the relationship between z-scores and percentages? In your opinion, does one do a better job of representing the proportion of the area under the standard curve? Give an example that illustrates your answer.

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**Week 3**

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**DQ1**

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**Choose the Analysis**. A researcher wishes to study the effect of a new drug on blood pressure. Would you recommend using a *z*-test, a *t*-test, or an A.N.O.V.A. for the analysis? Explain your answer. What would your choice of test depend on? For the test you select, explain your design and your comparison groups. Would the hypothesis be directional or non-directional? Would the test be one-tailed or two-tailed? What would be the null and what would be the alternative hypothesis?

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**DQ 2**

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**Repeated Measures**. Review Chapter 7 of your course text, which reviews inferential statistics that analyze experiments of repeated measures designs. For this discussion, search the Ashford University Library and find a scholarly, peer-reviewed study on any behavioral or social sciences topic that used a repeated measures design. Reference the study and summarize the research question, the subjects, and the variable(s) of interest. What statistical analysis was used and what were the results? Were there any statistically significant differences? What does it mean for the results to be statistically significant? What does this mean specifically for the differences assessed in this study? Cite your study using APA format as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

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**Week 4**

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**DQ 1**

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**Correlation**. Much has been written about the relationship between a student’s S.A.T. test scores and their family’s income. Generally speaking, there is a strong positive correlation between income and S.A.T. scores. What might this tell you? Is this evidence that having a high family income causes one to have high S.A.T. scores? Is this evidence that high S.A.T. scores are a cause of high income? Or, does this tell you something else? If something else, what? In the course of your response, explain why correlation alone is rarely sufficient to demonstrate cause.

**DQ 2**

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**Regression**. Explain the relationship between correlation and regression. What do the two approaches have in common, and how are they different? In what types of research might one approach be preferred over the other? Explain and justify your response. Be sure that your discussion refers to both predictor and criterion variables as well as their role in the regression equation.

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**Week 5**

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**DQ 1**

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**Chi-Square Goodness-of-Fit Test**. Describe the chi-square goodness-of-fit test. Provide a detailed explanation of what this test measures, and how it is similar to and different from the independent *t*-test. How do you know when to use one analysis over the other? Provide a real-world example.

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**DQ 2**

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**Chi-Square Test of Independence**. Describe the chi-square test of independence. Give an example of a question that could be answered using this test. If you were to assemble a contingency table, what would be included in your rows and columns? Pick a cell of this contingency table and explain what the value in the cell would represent (you do not need to give the value, just explain what it would represent)? What hypothesis would be tested? What do you think the answer would be? Why?

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**Week 1 Assignment**

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**Final Paper Topic Proposal**. For the Final Paper, you will identify three to five research studies from peer-reviewed sources that were published within the last ten years, which investigate a particular social science problem or topic. The Final Paper will focus on critiquing the varying statistical approaches used in each of these studies.

Your assignment this week is to identify the topic that you intend to focus on for your Final Paper. You may select any social science problem or topic; however, it must be something that has been studied using quantitative research methods. Some examples of possible topics include:

Effectiveness of therapeutic interventions for a psychological disorder

Causes or treatment strategies for violence and aggression

Strategies for reducing prejudice

Factors impacting domestic violence

Causes and treatment of addiction

If you cannot identify quantitative research studies to critique, you will be unable to complete the Final Paper and therefore may need to select a different topic. Consequently, you are encouraged to search the Ashford University Library for quantitative research studies on your chosen topic to ensure there are enough available for use. For this assignment, include at least one quantitative research study from a peer-reviewed source that was published within the last ten years, cited according to APA guidelines and that supports your chosen topic.

In order to identify which studies are quantitative, skim the results section of the database you are searching. If the results section contains a summary of statistical tests, then it would be considered quantitative. Often the article’s abstract will also make it clear that the study is quantitative by including comments about the comparisons made in the study.

Your assignment must include your research topic and why you have decided to focus on this particular topic for your Final Paper, the research hypothesis that you will be focusing on for the topic you choose, as well as an introduction and conclusion. The paper should be one to two pages in length (excluding title and reference pages) and adhere to proper APA formatting as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

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**Week 2 Assignment**

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**Article Summary**. For your Final Paper you will identify three to five quantitative research studies from peer-reviewed sources which were published within the last ten years and that investigate a particular social science problem or topic. The Final Paper will focus on critiquing the varying statistical approaches used in each of these studies and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each as it relates to the study of the problem or topic identified.

This week, utilize the Ashford University Library to select the three to five research studies which investigate the particular social science problem or topic you have chosen. Write a short summary of each of the studies. To be sure that each study meets the requirements for the Final Paper, address each question below as you summarize the article:

What topic is being investigated in this study?

What is the research question or questions being proposed in this study?

What or who is the sample being investigated?

What is the research or experimental design being used?

What statistical tests are being used in this study?

The paper should be two to three pages in length, excluding title and reference pages. Include a reference page that lists the three to five quantitative research studies from peer-reviewed sources published within the last ten years and that adheres to proper APA formatting, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

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**Week 3 Assignment**

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**Final Paper Outline**. This week, your assignment is to prepare an outline for the Final Paper that is due next week. Review the Final Paper requirements, which are located in Week Five of your course or in the “Components of Course Evaluation” section of this guide.

For each of the three to five quantitative research studies selected (from peer-reviewed sources that were published within the last five years), the outline should include a heading for the study and the sub-headings for Introduction, Methods, and Results. For example:

I. First Study

A. Introduction

B. Methods

C. Results

II. Second Study

A. Introduction

B. Methods

C. Results, etc….

Every outline heading and subheading must include a two to three sentence description. Additionally, for each study, indicate how it will support the overall concept of your Final Paper and which areas of the Final Paper it will apply to. Your assignment must include a reference page listing the three to five quantitative research studies from peer-reviewed sources that were published within the last five years (these will also be used for your Final Paper). It must be formatted according to APA guidelines as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

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**Week 5 Final Paper**

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**Focus of the Final Paper**

For your Final Paper you will conduct a research study critique. Utilize the instructor-approved topic that you selected in Week One of the course. Identify three to five quantitative research studies from peer-reviewed sources which were published within the last ten years that investigate this topic. Describe the statistical approaches (i.e., identify the variables and their type) used in each study and the interpretation of the results. Finally, present other statistical approaches that could have been used and, when appropriate, suggest alternative interpretations of the results. This process will allow you to apply the concepts learned in the course in the interpretation of actual scientific research.

The three to five quantitative research studies that have been conducted on your chosen topic must:

1. Have a clearly stated research hypothesis.

2. Utilize inferential statistical tests as part of the research study.

3. Present the results of the statistical analysis.

4. Interpret the results of the statistical analysis.

5. Discuss the implications of the results of the study.

The Final Paper must contain the following sections:

1. Introduction

2. Methods

3. Results

4. Discussion

**Introduction**

This section will provide a general introduction and review relevant literature to the topic being studied. The research studies being critiqued will also be introduced in this section. In the Introduction, the research hypothesis associated with each study should also be clearly defined.

**Methods**

In this section, the research method and statistical approaches for each of the studies being critiqued will be presented. This section should include a discussion of all statistical tests conducted and other relevant information, such as the

sample size, and any assumptions noted on the part of the researcher. In this section, the student should describe of all of these factors, and suggest alternatives when they are appropriate.

**Results**

In this section, the results of the statistical tests performed in each of these studies should be presented and critiqued. It is appropriate in this section, to discuss limitations or to critique the interpretation of the results provided in each study.

**Discussion**

This section will compare the efficacy of the research studies that are presented on the topic chosen by the student. The strengths and weaknesses of each study should be mentioned in this section. Based on these studies, suggest future research directions. Additional forms of statistical analysis should be included as part of the suggested future research.