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Chapter 1



Chance favors the prepared mind.

- Louis Pasteur

Goals in this Chapter

The logic of research and the purpose of
statistical procedures
Population, Sample, Variables
What the difference is between an
experiment and a correlational study, and
what the independent variable, the
conditions, and the dependent variable are
When and why descriptive and inferential
statistical procedures are used
What the four scales of measurement are

Learning About Statistics

What is
Statistics is the study of how to
collect, organize, analyse, and
interpret numerical information from

What is Statistics?
Statistics help make sense of data in four ways:

Organize scores to see patterns

Summarize data to understand general


Communicate results of a study

Interpret what the data indicate

The Logic of Research

Behavioral Research
The goal of behavioral research is to understand
the laws of nature that apply to the behaviors of
living organisms.

Samples and Populations

The entire group to which a law of nature

applies is the population

A sample is a relatively small subset of a

population intended to represent, or stand in
for, the population

The people measured in a sample are called the


Samples and Populations

Use the scores in a sample to inferthat is, to

estimatethe scores we would expect to find in
the population.

This assumes a sample is representative of

the population.

If a sample is unrepresentative, it inaccurately

reflects the population. Unrepresentative
samples may give misleading results.

Understanding Variables
A variable is the characteristic of the individual to
be measured or observed. Some common
variables in behavioral research are:




Personality type

Physical attributes

Understanding Variables
Data are the values (measurements
or observations) that the variables can

Types of Variables
The two categories of variables are:

Quantitative variables in
which a score indicates the
amount of a variable that is
present and

Qualitative variables that

classify or categorize an
individual on the basis of some

Descriptive and
Inferential Statistics

Applying Statistics

Descriptive statistics involves methods of organizing,

picturing, and summarizing information from samples or

Inferential statistics involves methods of using

information from a sample to draw conclusions regarding
the population.

Statistics Vs. Parameters


statistic is a number
describing an aspect of
the scores in a sample

parameter is a number
an aspect of the scores in
the population

Statistics Vs. Parameters

Statistics are represented using English letters

such as A, B, C, etc.

Parameters are represented using Greek letters

such as , , , etc.

Understanding Relationships

In a relationship, as the scores on one variable
change, the scores on the other variable change in
a consistent manner.

Types of Relationships
Simple relationships have one of two patterns. If
we call one variable X and the other variable Y,

Pattern 1: The more you X, the more you Y

Pattern 2: The more you X, the less you Y

Example: The more you drive distracted, the more

likely it is you will have an accident (Pattern 1).
The more you exercise, the lesser the
chance that youll be physically unfit (Pattern 2).

Relationship Consistency

If a score on one variable is always paired with

one and only one score on the other variable,
we have a perfectly consistent relationship.

Perfect consistency is not required to have a

relationship, only some degree of consistency.
This means as the scores on one variable
change, the scores on the other variable tend to
change in a consistent fashion.

Understanding Experiments and

Correlational Studies

Research Designs

A studys design is the way the study is laid


Different designs require different descriptive

and inferential procedures, so learn when to use
each procedure

There are two major types of designs:


Correlational studies

In an experiment, the researcher actively changes or
manipulates one variable and then measures participants
scores on another variable to see if a relationship is

The Independent Variable


independent variable is
changed or manipulated by
the experimenter

condition is the specific

amount or category of the
independent variable creating
the specific situation under
which participants are studied

The Dependent Variable

The dependent variable is the variable measuring a
behavior or attribute of participants we expect will be
influenced by the independent variable.

Can You?
Identify the independent variable, the conditions
of the independent variable, and the dependent
variable for the following study:
The effect of an intensive summer school
college preparatory program (compared to no
program) on the GPAs of at-risk freshmen

Correlational Studies
In a correlational study, the researcher measures
participants scores on two variables and then determines
whether a relationship exists.

The Characteristics of Scores

Measurement Scales
The kind of information scores convey depends on
the scale of measurement used. There are four
types of measurement scales:

A nominal scale does not measure an amount;

rather, it categorizes or classifies individuals. It
consists of names, labels, or categories.

An ordinal scale indicates rank order. There is

no score of 0 (zero), and the same amount does
not separate every pair of adjacent scores.

Measurement Scales


An interval scale indicates an actual quantity, they

can be arranged in order, and there is an equal
amount separating any adjacent scores. Interval
scales do not have a true 0.

A ratio scale also measures an actual quantity,

they can be arranged in order, and there is an equal
amount separating any adjacent scores, and there is
a true 0 value.

Continuous Versus
Any variable also may be either continuous or

A continuous variable can be measured in

fractional amounts and so decimals make sense

A discrete variable can only be measured in

fixed amounts, which cannot be broken into
smaller amounts

For each of the following variables, indicate (1) the
measurement scale and (2) whether it is continuous or

The number of tickets sold to an event

Your flavor preferences in soft drinks



The number of tickets sold to an event

ratio, discrete

Your flavor preferences in soft drinks

nominal, discrete


interval, continuous

interval, continuous