These components are listed in outline form so that they can be used as a checklist. However, your project report
is expected to be a formal paper (not an outline). Your results should be stated in complete sentences, and your paper should be written in paragraph form. Although you may choose to use headings, you should not number your paragraphs. 1. Introduction. State the topic of your study as a research question and/or as a specific hypothesis that you tested; your specific hypothesis should note a statistically significant result that you expected to find and the practical reason that you expected this result (your rationale). 2. Define Population(s). Define clearly the population(s) that you intend for your study to represent. (Examples: all NFL football players, all cars manufactured this year, all biology majors at your school, all small towns in the Southeastern U.S., all PetSmart shoppers in your city, etc.) 3. Define Variable(s). Define clearly the variable(s) that you obtained during your data collection (e.g., age, salary, price, miles per gallon, score on a particular personality test, miles commuted one-way to school daily, etc.) This must be specific: "time spent watching TV" is too vague; "number of hours spent watching TV in the last 3 days" would be specific enough. If your variable is a measurement (e.g., height) give units (e.g., inches). If your variable is a score (e.g., on a personality quiz), give the range of possible scores (e.g., 0 to 15). Student Guide: Discovery Projects in Statistics 21 4. Data Collection. Describe your data collection process and sampling strategy. For this project, you will not actually collect data. You will use a database from connect math or make up your data. You do need to describe how you would have collected your data. If you located data on a website, provide the URL and tell how you selected individuals from that website to include in your sample. If you obtained data from an agency, office, store, or other similar source, explain where you went and how you selected individuals to include in your sample. If you surveyed individuals directly or took measurements, describe how you selected individuals for the sample. If you used a survey, this section must include a copy of your survey. If you collected measurements, describe the device you used (e.g., tape measure, odometer, scale, stopwatch, etc.) If participants were required to do something to be measured, describe the measurement process (e.g., "each participant was asked to hold their breath as long as possible; the number of seconds they held their breath was timed with a stopwatch.") No matter what data collection process you used, address: a) what steps you took to avoid bias in your sample; and b) whether you believe the sample(s) you obtained were representative of the population. Tell why or why not. Your instructor may also request that you include a table with all of your raw (not summarized) data as an appendix at the end of the report. 5. Study Design. Identify the statistical test you conducted to analyze your data. Also tell which type of design you used (one-sample, matched pairs, etc.) Give other design details (e.g., was it 1-sided or 2-sided? Left-tailed or right-tailed?) State your null and alternative hypotheses, both in words and in appropriate mathematical symbols. If you used a matched pairs design, explain clearly how the pairs of values were matched and how the difference was computed (e.g., by subtracting before - after, left - right, etc.) 6. Results: Descriptive Statistics. Give descriptive statistics for each data set. Note that t- tests for 2 independent samples will require statistics for 2 sets of data-- one for each of the two separate samples. Matched pairs t-tests will require statistics for 3 sets of data-- one for each of the 2 related values (e.g., before and after) and another one for the difference between each pair of numbers. Report each set of descriptive statistics using both a table and a chart as described below. All tables and charts should be placed directly in your report. a) Table: Give sample size, mean, standard deviation, and 5-number summary. b) Chart: Show a histogram that illustrates the distribution of the variable. 7. Results: Statistical Analysis. Report the results of your test; include the test statistic, degrees of freedom, and the p value of the significance test. 8. Findings. Interpret the results in the context of your original research question. Do your analyses support your expected findings? Explain. Interpret p-values and discuss significance levels. 9. Discussion. What conclusions, if any, do you believe you can draw as a result of your study? If the results were not what you expected, what factors might explain your results? What did you learn from the project about the population(s) you studied? What did you learn about the research variable? What did you learn about the specific statistical test you conducted?
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