Psychology 201: Basic Research Methods Dr. John A. Johnson

Spring 2002


This assignment has three instructional goals: (a) to provide students with experience in computing descriptive statistics and bar charts; (b) to provide students with practice in choosing hypotheses to test and in carrying out the hypothesis testing, and (c) to provide students with experience in interpreting and reporting the results of hypothesis testing.

The assignment has two steps:


Statistically summarize the findings of our survey research project from the data in the Excel spreadsheet file, lab7.xls, in the PSY201W folder on the I-Drive if you are in one of the campus computer labs or by browsing with Microsoft© Internet Explorer (Netscape might not work) to the web address:

The variables are in the following columns:


Code number for interviewer [1-8]


Participant number [1-66]


My parents or guardians played a major role in my decision to attend college. [1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


One reason I decided to attend college was to better fit in or conform to society. [1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


I decided to attend college because I was not ready to join the workforce. [1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


I decided to attend college because I thought this would help be obtain a better, higher-paying job. [1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


I work just as hard as I can, to my full ability, in my classes.

[1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


Given my ability, my grades are as high as they possibly could be.

[1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


President Spanier has said that tuition may increase by 12-14% next year. If this increase occurs, I would have to reconsider whether to continue my studies at PennState.

[1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


If tuition increases by 12-14% next year, I would seriously consider attending another school. [1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


If answer to above question is somewhat or strongly agree, to which school would you most likely transfer? 

[1=IUP; 2-Clarion; 3=Gannon; 4=Pitt; 5=undecided]


If tuition increases by 12-14%, I would expect to see a significant increase in student programs, majors, and services.

[1-5; strongly disagree – strongly agree]


Loans (must be paid back)? (0-100%)


Scholarships (for achievement)? (0-100%)


Financial aid (based on need; doesn't have to be repaid)? (0-100%)


Money I've earned? (0-100%)


Money from my family (doesn't have to be repaid)? (0-100%)


What year did you graduate from high school? 



Sex [male = 1, female = 2)]

I have placed these letters, A-S, in the first row of the spreadsheet. This way, if you move columns around or add columns to your spreadsheet, you will be able to keep track of where the variables are.

Use the Excel function called COUNTIF to count how many responses with a given value occur for the variables you correlated in Lab 7. There are two advantages to using COUNTIF rather than counting frequencies by hand. First, after you use COUNTIF to count the values for one variable, you can copy the COUNTIF formula in these cells across all columns to automatically tally the responses for the other variables. Second, you can create bar charts from the values produced by COUNTIF.

To use COUNTIF, begin by moving the cursor to any empty cell; I recommend pointing to a cell directly below a column of data you wish to summarize. Let's say in Lab 7 you decided to correlate the item: I work just as hard as I can, to my full ability, in my classes.(from column G) with the percentage of tuition contributed by family (from column Q). To summarize the data for the variable in column G, move the cursor to cell G70. Then, type the formula:


and hit the RETURN or ENTER key. The value "6" should appear, indicating that six people responded 1 (strongly disagree) to the belief that they work just as hard as they can in their classes.

You now have a couple of choices for counting the number of 2's, 3's, 4's, and 5's between G3 and G68. One would be to simply repeat the procedure above for cell G71, substituting a "2" for a "1" in the formula:


and then follow the procedure again for 3's, 4's, and 5's.

Alternative, you can save a little bit of typing effort by first adjusting the original =COUNTIF formula with dollar signs to make the range of cells absolute:


Once you do this, you can copy and paste this formula to cells G71, G72, G73, and G74. You can then go back to each of these cells and change the "1" to a "2," "3," "4," and "5." The values in these five cells produced by the COUNTIF formulas should be 6, 10, 15, 21, 13. If you type =SUM(G70:G74) in G75, you should get 65, which is one less than the total number of people in our sample (note that we filled in one missing value was replaced with the mean for this variable, 3.4, so it didn't show up in the number of 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s. If you want, you can round this value to 3, which would increase the number of 3s from 15 to 16).

Once you have the frequency counts for responses in column G, you can repeat the procedure for the variable in column Q. You will now have the frequency counts for both of your variables in columns G and Q. Report these results in a Table (following the APA format for Tables) in your paper. The following is an example of the first entry in your table:













I work just as hard as I can, to my full ability.









In your paper you must include a bar chart for the two variables you have chosen to correlate. You may display the variables on the same chart if you wish or as separate charts. To create a bar chart from the frequency data, you will have to read our data file with Microsoft Excel. So, if you are viewing the data with Internet Explorer, save the data file to a floppy disk and then read it with Excel. Click and drag over the range of frequencies you wish to chart. Also, before you actually build the chart, it is a good idea to create labels for your frequencies. To do this, type phrases strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, unsure, somewhat agree, and strongly agree in cells F70 through F74 (or in any column where there is empty space). To make these terms the labels for your graph, click and drag to highlight cells containing your labels (F70 through F74 in this example). Release the mouse button. Then, hold down the Ctrl Key, and click-and-drag to highlight the five cells containing the frequencies you wish to graph. If you want to include both variables on the same graph, continue to hold down the Ctrl Key and click-and-drag over the five cells containing the frequencies for the second variable.

After highlighting the cells you wish to chart, click on Insert from the menu at the top of the screen, drag down to Chart. (Or, just click the Charwizard buton.) A little dialog box called ChartWizard will pop up to help guide you through the creation of a chart. The first Chartwizard window asks you to choose what type of chart you want to create. Choose the column type by clicking on that icon to make sure it is highlighted and then clicking the Next> button. Step 2 shows you an image of what your graph will look like so you can verify that everything is okay. At this point, click the "Series" tab to bring up a box that allows you to label your variables. If you highlighted the frequencies for both of your variables, in this box you will see in a little window two generic variable labels, Series 1 and Series 2. (If you highlighted the frequencies for only one variable you will see only Series 1). Click on Series 1 to make sure it is highlighted, then click on the empty window that says Name: . Type in whatever label you want to identify your first variable. For the example I have been using here, you would type in for the first variable I work just as hard as I can, to my full ability. After typing a label for your first variable, click on Series 2 (if you are doing both variables on the same chart) and type a name for it. Then, click the Next> button to take you to Step 3. The window for Step 3 allows you to type in a title for the chart and labels for the variables on both axes, if you wish. When you are done labeling the chart and axes, click to Next> button to take you to the last step, Step 4. Click the save option, "As new sheet" and then click the Finish button and you will have your finished chart. You can then print the chart for your paper or copy it and paste it into a Microsoft Word document.

In addition to computing the means and standard deviation for the two variables you correlated, find the mean age and standard deviation for our sample, and determine how many male and how many female participants are in the study. The other statistical analysis you are required to report is the correlation coefficient between the two variables you correlated in Lab 7.


After computing the descriptive frequencies, means, standard deviations, and correlation, you are ready to write a short research paper describing what you did. The paper must include all of the major parts of an APA-format manuscript: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion. The title should be informative about the content of the paper (don't simply use "Paper #2" as your title!). Don't forget to summarize your data with a table and to include your bar charts as figures. The one exception to the APA construction is that no title page is required. Please attach a copy of the evaluation sheet with your name and the title of your paper instead.

In the Introduction you will talk about your perceptions of the campus issues included on our survey. This introduction will in no way be a thorough treatment of the subject. Just say enough to get the paper started. Use references only if you desire. In this introduction you will also explain why you are investigating the correlation between the two variables you have chosen. You do not need to provide any deep, complex reasons--any explanation that seems reasonable will do.

The other sections of the paper should be written according to the guidelines discussed earlier in the course and described in the APA publication manual. Papers should be approximately 4-6 typed pages in length (excluding tables and figures), although I am not grading on length. The textbook and the APA manual provide very useful guidance on what should and should not be included. The abstract should be about 100-150 words. Remember that papers must be typed, and that clarity and good writing mechanics count!

Psychology 201: Basic Research Methods Spring 2001
Paper #2 Evaluation and comment sheet

NAME ________________________________________

TITLE ________________________________________________________________________


Title (5) ________

Abstract (15) ________

Introduction (25) ________

Problem statement (10) ______

Background (5) ______

Hypothesis (10) ______

Method (25) ________

Participants (7) ______

Materials (5) ______

Procedure (13) ______

Results (25) ________

Frequency statistics (10) ______

Correlational statistics (10) ______

Presentation (5) ______

Discussion (30) ________

Interpretation (10) ______

Limitations (10) ______

Conclusion (10) ______

References (if used; otherwise points assigned under

writing, below) (5) ________

Writing (20) ________

Organization and clarity (10) ______

Mechanics (10) ______

(grammar, spelling, APA format, etc.)

TOTAL (150) ________