Do students with low and high previous Maths experience differ in statistics anxiety? Attitude toward studying statistics, and if so how do they differ? Do male and female students differ in statistics anxiety OR attitude toward
studying statistics, and if so how do they differ?
For this assignment, the class will participate in a simple research project which you will write up as a research report with the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion and References.
In order to successfully complete this assignment, you will need to conduct a literature review of approximately ten peer-reviewed relevant journal articles;
integrate and critically evaluate the evidence in the articles, leading logically to the research hypotheses
obtain descriptive statistics and conduct inferential tests using SPSS
correctly report the results of the analyses and critically interpret the results, leading to your own claims about your results
point out the significance of your research for psychological theory, practice, and/or policy
cite references in text and compile a References list according to APA guidelines
I encourage you to work in small groups at the following stages: finding references and developing skills at critiquing the evidence in the early weeks, conducting the statistical analyses and discussing the results of your analyses in the weeks before the report is due. However, each student must write their own reports and I would expect everyone’s report to be substantially different, except for the Method and Results sections which
will necessarily be similar. There is an expectation that you will conform to APA (American Psychological
Association) V6 referencing style. Please see links to guides and resources on the Learnonline page.
On the Learnonline page you will also find three annotated research report examples. Please pay particular attention to the content of each section of the report. You will be marked on how well you have addressed the following criteria: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, References, neatness and
correction of presentation, and writing style (structure, flow and logical presentation of the arguments).
Your Draft Introduction and complete Research Report should be submitted on the relevant templates, which include a Cover Sheet and marking proforma/feedback sheet, and are available on the course Learnonline page.
As learning to write an APA style research report is a difficult task, you will complete submit a draft of your Introduction, receive a grade and feedback on the draft, complete the SPSS analyses to write the Method and Results sections in class, and then interpret the results, write and submit the complete report. Requests for extensions must be submitted at least three days prior to the assignment due date. All applications for extension must be made via the Extension request link on the course Learnonline page and include supporting documentation (e.g. medical certificate, letter from counsellor). Students will be notified (via Learnonline) whether or not the extension has been granted (and the new submission date where appropriate).
An assignment handed in after the due date for which an extension has not been granted will lose 2% per day. Assignments will not normally be accepted once marked assignments have been returned to the class (and if accepted will receive a maximum mark of 50%).
Note that if your submitted assignment file is corrupted you will be required to resubmit your assignment. The date on which a readable file is submitted to Learnonline will be deemed to be the date of submission. If this is after the due date a late penalty of 2% per day will be applied to the assignment. It is your responsibility to ensure that the assignment file you submit is not corrupted.
Topic specific information
We’re going to be looking at how undergraduate Psychology students feel about studying statistics – a topic I know will be close to your hearts! Specifically we’re interested in how younger (under 22) and older (22 and over – considered independent of their parents for the purposes of Youth Allowance etc.) OR how those with low
previous Maths experience (last studied Maths at less than Year 12 level) and those with high previous Maths experience (last studied Maths at Year 12 level or above) OR how male and female students might differ in how they feel about statistics. To this end I asked you to complete a Tellus Survey in your Week 1 practical. The questionnaire contained the following questions & scales:
Text comment about course expectations
Statistics Anxiety Scale
Attitude to Learning Statistics Scale
o Highest level of Maths studied prior to this course
Less than Year 12 Secondary School
Year 12 Secondary School
Higher Education (eg University)
First, print out a copy of the Tellus Survey
Look at the questions and see if you can work out which make up the two scales (I’ll tell you which is which later so don’t worry if you’re unsure about some of them) and
whether they are positively or negatively worded
o Statistics Anxiety (5 positively worded and 5 negatively worded items on 7
point Likert scales) which we will sum so that a high score reflects greater
statistics anxiety. Refer to Tremblay, Gardner, and Heipel (2000) for
information on this scale
o Attitude to Learning Statistics (5 positively worded and 5 negatively worded
items on 7 point Likert scales) which we will sum so that a high score reflects
a more positive attitude toward learning statistics. Refer to Tremblay,
Gardner & Heipel (2000) for information this scale.
Read the following articles (both available on the Learnonline page)
o Tremblay, Gardner & Heipel (2000). Look at the scales they have used to
measure statistics anxiety and attitude to studying statistics – we have used two
of the same scales
o Bell (2003). Think about the argument made for differences between traditional
and non-traditional students.
The overall aim of our study is to explore whether these different type of students differ in how they feel about studying statistics. We have two measures of how students feel about studying statistics – their attitude towards studying statistics (how positively they feel about it – measured on the ALS scale) their anxiety about statistics
(how anxious they feel about statistics – measured on the SA scale).
o Your first task is to decide whether you want to look at differences between traditional and non-traditional students OR differences between those with low vs high previous Maths experience OR differences between males and females
o Your second task is to decide whether you want to focus on differences in Statistics Anxiety OR differences in Attitude toward Studying Statistics.
o Once you have decided which groups you are comparing and what you are comparing them on, you are ready to commence your literature search.
Conduct your literature search to explore your chosen issue (you will need to find 10 to 15 peer reviewed articles). Some may be quite general (about study anxiety or attitudes to studying, some will be specific to studying statistics (statistics anxiety, attitude to statistics), some will be about the differences between younger and nonolder students or those with high versus low previous Maths experience, or males and females, and some will be even more specific (relating to differences in statistics anxiety or attitude to statistics between younger and older students OR those with high versus low previous Maths experience OR males versus females. Read each article critically and type or write your own notes in a separate document – NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, copy & paste from the articles! This is the path to accidental plagiarism and an Academic Integrity referral!
o Keep good record of all references and sources so that you can cite and reference them correctly.
Approach your literature search with an open mind asking one of the followingquestions:
o Do younger and older students differ in statistics anxiety OR attitude toward
studying statistics, and if so how do they differ?
The answer to your question is your theoretical hypothesis.
o If the majority of the studies reviewed found that a difference in a specific
direction then you will have a directional research hypothesis and should be
worded in terms of the specific groups and scales used.
It is predicted that *** will score higher than *** on the *** scale.
o If some studies found a difference is in one direction and others found a
difference in the opposite direction OR the majority of studies didn’t find a
difference at all then you will have a non-directional research question.
The purpose of the study was to determine whether *** and ***
differ on the *** scale.
Make sure that you can justify your hypothesis on the basis of the research you have
reviewed and summarised in your Introduction.
o You should each have ONE hypotheses about differences between younger
and older students OR differences between students with high or low
previous maths experience OR differences between male and female
students on EITHER in Statistical Anxiety OR Attitude to Learning Statistics.
Once you have completed your reading and have developed your hypothesis/research
question you can start typing the Introduction into the Introduction Template.
o Have your hypothesis/research question in front of you whilst you do this as
your Introduction should be leading to your hypothesis. Your introduction
should not have subheadings but should have the following general sections:
o The first paragraph should introduce the topic and convince the reader that it is
something worth exploring.
o In the body of the Introduction you need to summarise and critically evaluate
the literature and draw evidence based conclusions about differences between
your chosen groups in how they feel about studying statistics (i.e. their statistics
anxiety OR their attitude to learning statistics) – this is your theoretical
o In the final paragraph you introduce the current (our) study. Clearly state the
aim of your study. Very briefly (i.e. one or two sentences) state what was done
in the current study and then formally state your hypothesis or research
o Do not use contractions (e.g. isn’t, wouldn’t).
o Use clear, concise, formal expression.
o If you don’t know the meaning of a word then don’t use it (so no Thesaurus
writing!) because the marker probably will know what the word means and it
might not be what you think!
The Introduction is quite difficult to write, and if you have made errors in the
development of your hypothesis/research question this can lead to problems with
the rest of the report. Consequently you will be submitting a draft of your
Introduction and References (worth 10% of your final grade) which will be marked
and returned to you before you write and submit the complete Research Report
(worth 30% of your final grade).
We will use the data we collected in the first practical to test your hypotheses. We
will do this together during your Week 7 Practical. You will be given additional
information about the other sections of the research report in subsequent lectures
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