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DATA ANALYSIS - INFERENTIAL STATISTICS In addition to the use of descriptive statistical techniques (measures of central tendency, dispersion & graphs) it is also necessary for psychologists to use inferential statistical techniques to analyse their results. These are a range of techniques which calculate the probability of the results occurring due to chance and enable the psychologist to accept or reject the null hypothesis. Because chance can never be eliminated entirely, psychologists set, in advance of their research, a level of probability that results are due to chance which is acceptable. This is usually p < 0.05, or 5%, and is also known as the significance level. If the probability of results occurring due to chance is less than or equal to 5%, the result is said to be significant at p < 0.05 and the null hypothesis can be rejected. If the probability is greater than 5%, the results are not significant at p < 0.05 and the null hypothesis must be retained. Occasionally, more stringent levels of significance are used, e.g. p < 0.01 or p < 0.005.

WHICH TEST TO USE? Your choice of inferential statistical test must be based on three factors whether a test of difference or correlation is required, the level of measurement of your data, and the type of design:

LEVELS OF MEASUREMENT Nominal basically refers to categorically discrete data such as name of your school, type of car you drive or name of a book. This one is easy to remember because nominal sounds like name (they have the same Latin root).

Ordinal refers to quantities that have a natural ordering. The ranking of favourite sports, the order of people's place in a line, the order of runners finishing a race or more often the choice on a rating scale from 1 to 5. With ordinal data you cannot state with certainty whether the intervals between each value are equal. For example, we often using rating scales (Likert questions). On a 10 point scale, the difference between a 9 and a 10 is not necessarily the same difference as the difference between a 6 and a 7. This is also an easy one to remember, ordinal sounds like order.

Interval data is like ordinal except we can say the intervals between each value are equally split. The most common example is temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. The difference between 29 and 30 degrees is the same magnitude as the difference between 78 and 79 (although I know I prefer the latter). With attitudinal scales and the Likert questions you usually see on a survey, these are rarely interval, although many points on the scale likely are of equal intervals.

TESTS OF DIFFERENCE ~ pick one! Nominal data Related design (repeated measures or matched pairs) Unrelated design (independent groups) Sign test At least ordinal data Wilcoxon signed ranks test

TEST OF CORRELATION At least ordinal data

Spearmans rho Chi square test Mann-Whitney test

INTERPRETING STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE If your result is significant at p < 0.05, you can reject your null hypothesis & accept your alternate/experimental hypothesis because the probability of the difference (or relationship) occurring due to chance is small, at less than 5% - i.e. you can be at least 95% confident that the difference (or relationship) is really due to the effect of the IV (or the actual relationship between variables). If your result is not significant at p < 0.05, you must retain your null hypothesis & reject your alternate/experimental hypothesis because the probability of the difference/relationship occurring due to chance is too high, at greater than 5% - i.e. you are < 95% confident that the difference observed between your two conditions is really due to the IV (or the actual relationship between variables). Sample questions

NB Answer each of the following questions in the context of study A and study B below: A) A researcher investigates whether time taken to complete a dot to dot is quicker when done alone or when competing in pairs B) A researcher investigates whether theres a relationship between time taken to fall asleep at night and number of hours of spent doing homework that day.

Study A 1. What is the IV in this study?

Study A Questions 1 Name the type of design used

2. What is the IV? 3. What is the DV? 4. What level of data would this yield? a. Nominal b. Ordinal c. Interval

5. The researcher used 10 singles in condition one and 10 pairs in condition two. He wrote a directional hypothesis as he expected that working in pairs would be faster.

Write his experimental hypothesis

And his null

6. Explain why he chose a Mann Whitney U test to analyse the data. 7. The researcher obtained a U of 15. Use the table to decide is his results are significant. Remember that for Mann Whitney, the value must be lower than or equal to the critical value. The U value is _________ This is ____________ than the critical value of _____________

Therefore the results are _______________________ at p0.05

Study B 1. Write a directional hypothesis for this study.

2. Explain how you would carry this out. 3. What level of data would this yield? 4 what test would you use to analyse the data and why? 5. Suppose you had used 10 participants and obtained 10 pair of scores. You have carried out your test and obtained an rs value of .428 Which type of test do you need to look up (one-tailed or two tailed)? Explain why. 6. To be significant in this test, the observed value must exceed the table value.

7. Complete the following statement. The rs value is _________ This is ____________ than the critical value of _____________ Therefore the results are _______________________ at p0.05