Introductory Research Methods Assignment

Introductory Research Methods
      Introductory Research Methods

Introductory Research Methods

Order Instructions:

The purpose of this assignment is to develop your skills in critical evaluation of scientific psychological evidence as part of the process of developing scientific arguments. For this assignment you are required to read a set research article and critically evaluate it by answering a series of questions. The critique should focus on the claims that the authors of the articles make about their results and evaluating whether or not those claims are credible, and why. You will be marked on how well you have addressed the questions relating to evaluation of the article.

The assignment should be submitted on the Article Evaluation template which includes a Cover Sheet and marking proforma/feedback sheet, and is available on the course Learnonline page. The assignment must be submitted via Learnonline.

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 5% per working day will be applied to the assignment. It is your responsibility to ensure that the assignment file you submit is not corrupted.

Requests for extensions must be submitted 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 (eg 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 5% per working 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%).

The maximum word limit for this assignment is 600 words (excluding the cover page and questions). Marks will be deducted from papers exceeding this limit based on the percentage by which the limit is exceeded. For example, a 660 word paper is 10% over the limit and would have 10% deducted.



Assignment Cover Sheet – Internal

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Course code and title:BEHL 2005  Introductory Research Methods
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Assignment number:1 Due date:5pm Friday 19/08/2016
Assignment topic as stated in Course Information Booklet:Article Evaluation






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Question Type your answers into the boxes below Mark
1. What was the aim of the study?

(2 marks)

 The study evaluates statistics anxiety among the university students. In this study, statistical anxiety refers to the anxiety feelings experienced by students when studying statistics course or performing statistical analyses (gathering of projects data and interpretation of the data). The study highlights the sources/causes of statistical anxiety. The causes evaluated include financial issues, family matters, work, and other socio-cultural factors; and how these challenges impact the university students, especially the non-traditional students, when taking statistics courses at the university.  



2. What is the main argument in the introduction? (1 mark)

Is the argument convincing? Why, or why not? (1 mark)

According to this article, approximately 46% of the college students are above 25 years.  Bell main argument is that the rates of the old students have increased.  The paper also argues that these “mature age” students face various hurdles in their classroom. These challenges are attributed to the unrealistic societal goals, low self image, social familial problems, and in some cases, the excessive practical orientation. The challenges along with poor management of time cause poor academic preparation and increased anxiety. The study hypothesizes that lack of proper time management and self care are the main cause of poor academic achievement, especially in statistics course. The argument is convincing because it is supported by statistical findings from evidence based research.  




3. Identify the independent (1 mark) and dependent (1 mark) variables. The independent variable  age of the student, while the dependent variable is the students’ scores generated by Statistics Anxiety Rating Scale (STARS).  



4.  Does this study have a with-groups or a between-groups design? (1 mark) This is a between-group study. The testing factor is the aspect of statistics anxiety among non-traditional student’s vs younger students (two variable groups) thus the assertion that it is a between-groups study.  



5.  Is this study a true experiment?

(1 mark)




6. State one main result reported in the study.

(1 mark)

State one main claim the researchers make on the basis of this result.

(1 mark)

Is this claim justified by the results? (1 mark)

Could there be an alternative explanation for the result? If yes give one example. (1 mark)

The nontraditional students scored higher on factors that predict anxiety, which indicated more anxiety. The factors investigated includes  students perception of statistics, interpretation anxiety, class and test anxiety, fear for seeking help, fear of statistical teachers,  and computation self concept.  The nontraditional students scored highest in Test and class anxiety factor (p=0.89, t= -1.36). The traditional students scored highest on factor 1- worth / perception on statistics which has been reported at 64th percentile as compared to the 60th percentile.


The researcher claims that as statistical anxiety increases, the final grades gets lower. Therefore, the non-traditional students (scored high statistical anxiety) tend to have lower grades. This probably because they did not get same studying experience as the younger population. Therefore, they will need study harder in order to perform better and score higher.


This claim is not fully justified by the Bell’s findings.  This is because it is not certain if the nontraditional students suffer from other challenges other than the six factors evaluated.


Yes, the statistical anxiety is not the only cause of poor performance in nontraditional group. Probably being away from mathematics and classroom for a long period of time. Other additional explanation includes other responsibilities such as work and family responsibilities which leave with them little time to study.











8. Are the results generalisable (from the sample and in space and time)? (1 mark)

Why, or why not?(1 mark)

 Although this is a quantitative research, the study sample is not a true representative of the population.  Therefore, the findings cannot be used to reflect general population in space and in time. This is because Bell did not consider other variables such as level of students, ethnicity, education background, and gender which could introduce bias due to residual confounding effects.






9. Point out one good thing about the research. (1 mark)  The study points out the challenges experienced by the nontraditional students. This is important as it helps the lecturers as well as the school administration establish interventions that will reduce statistical anxiety.  For instance, the school can introduce dashboard where students can discuss or set up conversations that can help them lessen statistical anxiety.  



Overall Grade, Percentage

and Comments







Bell, J. A. (2003). Statistics anxiety: The nontraditional student. Education,124(1), 157.

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