Understanding and Evaluating Research: A Critical Guide shows students how to be critical consumers of research and to appreciate the power of methodology as it shapes the research question, the use of theory in the study, the methods used, and how the outcomes are reported. The book starts with what it means to be a critical and uncritical reader of research, followed by a detailed chapter on methodology, and then proceeds to a discussion of each component of a research article as it is informed by the methodology. The book encourages readers to select an article from their discipline, learning along the way how to assess each component of the article and come to a judgment of its rigor or quality as a scholarly report.

Statistical Literacy and Conventions

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the brief history of statistics and understand the laws of predictability and their central role in statistics
  • Explain the concept of statistical literacy (interpret, evaluate, and communicate statistical information)
  • Identify and differentiate between four types of data (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) and explain how they are used to create measurement scales in quantitative studies
  • Compare and contrast the basic statistical variables (11) used in quantitative research
  • Compare and contrast experimental and nonexperimental research along an array of criteria, especially randomization and variable manipulation
  • Identify, with examples, four basic experimental research designs and four basic nonexperimental research designs

Introduction

This chapter addresses statistical literacy and statistical conventions. The content will not lead to any level of statistical expertise (formal training is required for that); rather, ...

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