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Chapter 7 - Analysing the Data Part IV - Analysis of Variance Chapter 1 - Behavioural Science and research Chapter 2 - Research Design Chapter 3 - Collecting the Data Chapter 4 - Analysing the Data Part I - Descriptive Statistics Chapter 5 - Analysing the Data Part II - Inferential Statistics Chapter 6 - Analysing the Data Part III - Common Statistical Tests The Scientific Approach The Research Process Variables Confounds The Logic of Cause and Effect Research Hypothesis and Predicition Readings and Links

Chapter 1
Behavioural Science and Research


Research Hypotheses and Prediction

Research hypotheses are the specific testable predictions made about the independent and dependent variables in the study. Usually the literature review has given background material that justifies the particular hypotheses that are to be tested. Hypotheses are couched in terms of the particular independent and dependent variables that are going to be used in the study.

An example would be

"Children who are exposed to regular singing of the alphabet will show greater recognition of letters than children who are exposed to regular pronouncing of the alphabet"

Notice the IV is specified (singing compared to pronouncing) and the DV is specified (recognition of letters is what will be measured). Notice also that this research hypothesis specifies a direction in that it predicts that the singing group will recognise more letters than the pronouncing group. This is not always the case. Research hypotheses can also specify a difference without saying which group will be better than the other. In general, it is considered a better hypothesis if you can specify a direction.

Finally, note the deductive reasoning principle of the scientific method when we test hypotheses. If our theories and ideas are the truth we can devise controlled experiments and find evidence to support them. This gives considerable credence to our theories. If we work the other way, and gather data first and then try to work out what happened (inductive reasoning) we could be faced with a large number of competing theories all of which could be true or not true. This is sometimes called posthoc theorising and is a common way in which people explain events in their world. But we have no way of knowing which one is correct, we have no way of ruling out the competing reasons and we usually end up with choosing the one that fits best with our existing biases.

Inductive reasoning does have a role in exploratory research in order to develop initial ideas and hypotheses, but in the end the hypotheses have to be tested before they can have scientific credence.




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