Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology
Lab Report Practical Instructions
This document contains the instructions on how to use data, analyse and write-up your lab report for the Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology module (PY5622).
▪ For this assignment you will investigate sex differences* in optimism, from data collected using a published questionnaire and for which a hypothesis will be required.
▪ You will additionally determine whether optimism and age are related, i.e., correlated. A hypothesis will be required.
▪ You will prepare a lab report summarising your findings, the format of which will mirror the format of a standard journal article. Please read though the sections below that outline the requirements and steps involved.
Please read though the Optimism Questionnaire document (a pdf file). This provides you with the revised Life Orientation Test (LOT-R: Scheier et al., 1994) (administer the first page) together with background information, links to additional articles, and information on how the questionnaire is scored (second page). Your first task will be to contact a fellow student (e.g. by Zoom/Skype) and administer the questionnaire, that is, ask them each of the questions in turn and record their responses. You will find details of who you are paired with in Groups under the People menu link.
Once available, you will be notified of the group data that can be downloaded. If you view it in Excel you will see it has three columns: these are for, left to right, the variables sex, age (years) and Optimism. Import the data into Jamovi. Run the required analyses – for this remember your research questions:
1. is there a significant difference in optimism scores for males and females*?
2. is optimism significantly related to age in years?
For the first, you will need to use a t-test; you will need to decide which type of t-
test. For the second you will need to use a Pearson’s correlation.
* you will see that for this assignment we have asked you to investigate sex differences, and later referred to males and females. We appreciate that this is the old-fashioned convention of male versus female and apologise to anybody who feel they do not fit within these categories. But for the purpose of the analysis here, we need to have twoclear groups. In addition, prior research tends to talk in terms of male versus female, with little as yet published acknowledging a greater range of gender identities.
Writing the report
The word limit is 1400 words. This excludes: the title page, the abstract and references section (and any figures and accompanying captions). Note the word count is a maximum limit (reading/marking stops at it).
Please include the following sections and sub-sections in the same order as stated below (stated in italics, although do not use italics in your report). See also the Week 4 pdf summary document for further details. You should also refer to the slides and recording from the writing your report live session.
Please include a title page, this must include: The report title, word count (net) and your student ID.
This is a short summary of the entire study. Start with the aim and summarise with your final conclusion.
This section should include the aims and hypotheses of your study and cite the most relevant journal articles to the research question, e.g., what has been done before? The aim is to give the reader some background information on the topic under investigation. It moves from the general to the specific topically. By the end of your evaluation of the current knowledge and theory, it should be obvious what you are going to examine. End with your hypotheses (alternative and null).
This will contain the following sub-sections in the order given: Participants
• How many, age (mean, standard deviation, and range), males and females (number and potentially split of age across groups), why participating, any criteria…
• Underlying design method (e.g. experiment, or survey etc.), more specific design (e.g. between/within participants, attitude scale etc.)
• Variables (independent, dependent – the measures, or just variables measured in situ, as they occur)
• All stimuli and documentation (instructions, scales, consent forms etc.)
• Reliability and validity of scales used, scoring (although might go in design) etc. Procedure
• What the participants did – usual to put ethical comments here (for the purposes of your report you can assume that ethical approval was granted from the University, and that participants were informed of their rights and signed a consent form, etc.)
Present your data first: descriptive statistics and then include the outcome of your statistical analyses (as outlined above), e.g., t-test: t (32) = -4.23, p< .05 (2-tailed) and correlation: r (120) = 0.32, p < .001. All reported statistics should be given in American Psychological Association (APA) format.
An appropriate graphical visualisation of numeric data should be included for any/all significant findings (e.g., a bar chart or box plot showing male and females scores and/or a scatter plot of correlation data). You are also required to include within your report a table – you can either do so to present your participant details instead of doing so in narrative, or your descriptive statistics instead of doing so in narrative, and/or your four hypotheses (two research and two null). Do not copy output tables from Jamovi into your report.
Start with an overview of your findings in general terms and in general terms whether or not they supported your research hypotheses. Present your interpretation of the findings relative to prevailing research theory (which should have been raised in the introduction) and prior research evidence (which should have been discussed in the introduction). Discuss the strengths and weakness of your study, for example, does the age range of your participants allow you to draw a conclusion over a limited range of ages only? Mention any future directions of the research, for example, what could you do as a follow up study. Do be balanced when you talk about the study – consider what it can tell you as well as what it does not, and in terms of what it does not this should lead you into a sentence about what you could do next to address this.
End with a final conclusion. This should be no more than a couple of sentences saying what you have learned from the study.
You will have referred to other studies, for example, in your Introduction, please cite all of these references in this final section. Failure to acknowledge the work or the ideas of others amounts to plagiarism, which is a very serious academic offence. The required format for referencing in Psychology is the format adopted by the American Psychological Association (APA version 7).
Scheier M., Carver C., & Bridges M. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A reevaluation of the life orientation test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063-1078.
There is no requirement for any additional sections, appendix, supplementary material, etc. for this submission.
An overall aim is to make your report easy to read by the marker. The following five points will assist with this:
1. Main text – use font size: 12pt (title and sub-section titles can be larger and in bold, but do distinguish between different levels of headings).
2. Font type: Your choice – but please ensure it is a clearly legible type, e.g., Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman OR similar.
3. Line spacing: 1.5 spaced.
4. Include a title page (with title, net word count, and your student ID).
5. When figures are used label them Figure 1, etc, refer to them in the text as, for example, “Figure 1” and ensure they have a suitable caption. Similarly, Table 1 in text and the caption – APA formatting required.