Writing Assignment #1

Results and Discussion

These writing assignments have been created to give you the framework for writing scientific, APA-style papers and reports. Throughout the semester we will focus on different parts of an APA style

paper. The goal of these units is to prepare you to write a fully-integrated psychology paper that will be concise, coherent, and accurate.

An APA-style paper conveying research results typically contains these parts:

Abstract

Introduction

Method

Participants or Subjects

Measures or Material/Apparatus

Procedure

Results

Discussion

References

Tables and Figures

For this assignment we will focus on the Results and Discussion sections. After you complete this assignment you will be able to:

1) Generate hypothesis statements about possible mean differences in a specific dependent variable.

2) Draw conclusions from the data about the hypothesis.

3) Identify the different parts of a basic Results section.

4) Put your data into the correct format of a Results section.

5) Write a brief, basic Discussion section based on your results.

Identifying Your Hypothesis

1) Open the dataset “tips.sav” in SPSS. This is a real-life dataset of 244 tips collected by one waiter at a restaurant over a few months in the 1990s. The dataset contains 7 variables:

gender Gender of person paying the bill (1=female, 2=male)

smokers Were there any smokers in the party? (1=no, 2=yes)

day_of_week Day of the week (1=Friday, 2=Saturday, 3=Sunday, 4=Thursday)

meal Time of day (1=dinner, 2=lunch)

size Size of the party

total_bill Total meal charge in dollars (not including tip)

tip Tip in dollars

We need a way to assess the magnitude of tips relative to the total bill. Although one obvious way to do this is to calculate the percentage tip, in this case I’d like you to use Z-scores. Using

SPSS Descriptives (AnalyzeDescriptive StatisticsDescriptives), create Z-scores for the variables total_bill and tip. You can do this by moving those variables into the dialog box AND checking

the “save standardized values as variables” option, then clicking OK. New variables with a “Z” at the start of their name will appear in your file. You will see the mean and standard deviation of

the original variables in output, which of course differ quite a bit since tips rarely reach the amount of the bill.

Use the Compute command (TransformCompute Variable) to create a variable that is Ztip minus Ztotal_bill. Move the two variables into the dialog box and type a minus sign in between; also be sure

to name your new variable. The key dialog box should read “Ztip – Ztotal_bill”.

Look at a frequency table of this new variable. CONSIDER/DISCUSS what this variable represents assuming normally distributed bills and tips (i.e. what does a positive value mean and what does a

negative value mean?)

2) Consider your newly created dependent variable along with two independent variables from the following set: gender, smokers, day_of_week, meal, and size. Write expectations you might have

for any mean differences based on each IV below:

3) Now think about how you can summarize your expectations for each independent variable (IV) into one sentence. The first part of the sentence should describe the relationship you expect. The

second part of the sentence should describe what you expect this relationship to show. Often in psychology, we are looking for group differences. (Later in the semester, we will see situations

where we are looking for associations or correlations among variables.) A typical hypothesis statement might then look something like this:

I propose that 4 year-olds and 7 year-olds will perform differently on a standardized reading test, where 7 year-olds will score higher on the test than 4 year-olds.

Write your hypothesis statements (one per IV) in the space below:

4) Obtain the mean and standard deviation of your dependent variable FOR EACH value of your independent variable (for now, please analyze only one independent variable at a time). You can

refer back to Lab #2’s SPSS Descriptives PDF for examples of this; as an alternative command you can use AnalyzeCompare MeansMeans.

Copy the statistics you are reporting below:

5) Visually compare the means and standard deviations of your different groups. Note any conclusions reached below:

6) Because we want to communicate our findings to others, we are going to construct the basic parts of a Results section. The first sentence should be the statistical test you used. In this

case, we have not learned a statistical test yet to apply, so we will say that “we visually compared the means”. The second sentence will tell you whether or not there appeared to be a difference

between the groups. Note that this point in the class we are not able to explain whether or not there is truly a “significant” difference between groups. You will not report the mode or median.

Your final sentence will restate your hypothesis, stating whether your results reflect what you thought would happen. Following is an example (which you should refer back to later in the semester

when you write up your individual research project):

We analyzed our results by using (fill in stat test here). There (appears to be/does not appear to be) an effect for (fill in independent variable) on (fill dependent variable). Participants in the

_______ group displayed (higher/lower/the same) _____ (M = #, SD = #) than in the ______ group (M = #, SD = #). This (does/does not) support our hypothesis that (fill in with your hypothesis).

[REPEAT OR MODIFY AS NECESSARY].

Note some important aspects of APA Style that are demonstrated above, such as italicizing the names of sample statistics like M and SD. Only the names are italicized, not the numbers. As with

homework assignments or exams, all statistics should be reported to 2 decimal places.

7) Part I of your assignment is to write two Results paragraphs based on the class data in APA Style. You must hand in these work sheets with your typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New

Roman font paragraphs. They should be stapled together, with your name and lab day and section at the top of each page.

8) Part II of your assignment is to write a Discussion paragraph based on the class data. For your actual project, the Discussion section will be several paragraphs long and include much

additional information. However, for this assignment, one brief paragraph is sufficient. You should restate the goal of your analysis, how the data were collected, and what conclusions (if any)

were drawn from your results.

Thus, your typed assignment should look roughly like this (note that the headers “Results” and “Discussion” are centered and bolded):

Results

Results paragraph 1 goes here, indented one tab for the first line and the rest of the lines flush left.

Results paragraph 2 goes here, indented one tab for the first line and the rest of the lines flush left.

Discussion

Discussion paragraph goes here, indented one tab for the first line and the rest of the lines flush left.

Writing Assignment #1 Grading Rubric

Item Grade

Formatting

• is assignment typed?

• is assignment double spaced and using an appropriate font?

• does it follow example given in lab? /out of 2 points

Statistics

• are means included for all groups compared?

• are standard deviations included for all groups compared?

• is the notation correct? /out of 1 point

Clarity

• are the paragraphs written coherently?

• is it made clear what test/comparison was used?

• is it clear what the hypothesis being tested is? /out of 1 point

Conclusions/Discussion

• given the means, are they accurate? /out of 1 point

TOTAL /out of 5 points

Please staple all of your work together, including this grading rubric, when you hand in your assignment.

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