Selecting, reading, and presenting statistical analyses for the behavioral sciences

Frederick C. Roemmele

Abstract

The focus of this study was the description and practical application of parametric statistical techniques. Statistical analyses of choice for the various research designs in the behavioral sciences which are commonly used by researchers were defined and explained. Statistical techniques included in this study were independent and correlated t tests, one-way analysis of variance, randomized block factorial ANOVA, two-way analysis of variance, split-plot ANOVA, analysis of covariance, multiple comparisons (planned & unplanned), and multiple regression. Also, an introductory section on hypothesis testing was presented. Refeered behavioral science journals were utilized as sources for appropriate descriptors of the most popular statistical techniques being used in the behavioral sciences. The most popular techniques in the journal articles which were scrutinized received the highest emphasis in this study. Behavioral science journal articles which utilized the statistical methods were submitted to an expert panel of three researchers for independent review and evaluation. Three journal articles representative of each statistical technique were presented to the panel of experts. The panel ranked each article that they reviewed as to the following questions which served as the criteria for selection: (1) Was the presentation of the statistical analysis clear? (2) Did the study answer the research question or problem statement? (3) Did the article contain a priori or post hoc tests (if applicable)? (4) Was the sample size sufficient? (5) Was the article easy to read and understand? The panelists scored each article with an overall ranking of 1 = best, 2 = average, and 3 = worst. The articles which received the highest overall ranking by the panel were utilized as descriptive case studies for the different statistical analyses which were defined and explained in this study. A representative bibliography (Appendix D) of behavioral science journal articles was presented with five research articles which were representative of each technique. The articles in the bibliography were selected by the author as appropriate illustrations of the various statistical techniques presented in this study.