Instructions for the Laboratory Report
You will need to write a laboratory report. Because this is a research methods unit, the purpose of this laboratory report is to emphasize the procedure and methods and of conducting research, as well as the statistical approach.
This laboratory report is slightly different from the one you are used to doing in other units. In this report, you will choose a data set from three data sets we have provided and choose the appropriate statistical test to test a research question, run the analysis, and write the report.
As pointed out, given that this is a research methods unit, we are not interested in the underlying theory or the research topic. What is important is that you demonstrate the understanding of the common problems scientists face when conducting research. You will also need to demonstrate that you understand how to interpret the findings and apply them in real life, not just report p-values.
Please, follow the instructions below.
1) Choose a research question and an associated data set from a below list:
2) Although our focus is research methods and data interpretation, you need to know the background information of each study. You should also demonstrate your ability to find relevant studies and use them to introduce your topic and formulate hypotheses in your introduction. The Same principle is applicable to your discussion. You need to compare your results with previous studies and back up your statements with evidence (i.e., empirical studies). You’re expected to include at least two additional papers for your lab report apart from the provided paper.
Here is the overview of each study:
Study 1: Does age influence depth of processing effects on recall?
The data set for the study 1 is modified from a study reported by Howell [Howell, D.C. (2013). Fundamental statistics for the behavioural sciences (8th ed), Wadsworth: Australia].
As we age, it appeared that we struggle to remember things compared to when we were younger. Eysenck (1974) instructed participants to recall lists of words to which they had been exposed under conditions that required different levels of processing. He was interested in determining whether a number of words they can recall were related to the level at which material was processed initially. He was interested in whether level-of-processing notions using five different levels of processing could explain differences in recall between older and younger participants. If older participants do not process information as deeply, they might be expected to recall fewer items than would younger participants, especially in conditions that entail greater processing. The study included 50 participants 18 through 30 years of age and 50 participants 55 through 65 years of age.
Overview of Studies
Study 2: The habituation effect of a drug on motor activity
This data set is taken from Howell [Howell, D.C. (2013). Statistical Methods for Psychology, 8th Edition, Cengage Learning: USA]. King and colleagues (King, Bouton, & Musty, 1987) investigated motor activity in rats following injection of a drug called midazolam. The first time that this drug is injected, it typically leads to a distinct decrease in motor activity. Like morphine, however, a tolerance for midazolam develops rapidly. King examined whether that acquired tolerance could be explained on the basis of a conditioned tolerance related to the physical context in which the drug was administered. He used three groups, collecting the crucial data on only the last day, which was the test day. During pretesting, two groups of animals were repeatedly injected with midazolam over several days, whereas the Control group was injected with physiological saline. On the test day, one group—the “Same” group—was injected with midazolam in the same environment in which it had earlier been injected. The “Different” group was also injected with midazolam, but in a different environment. Finally, the “Control” group was injected with midazolam for the first time. This “Control” group should thus show the typical initial response to the drug (decreased ambulatory behaviour), whereas the “Same” group should show the normal tolerance effect— that is, they should decrease their activity little or not at all in response to the drug on the last trial. If King is correct, however, the “Different” group should respond similarly to the “Control” group, because although they have had several exposures to the drug, they are receiving it in a novel context and any conditioned tolerance that might have developed will not have the necessary cues required for its elicitation. The dependent variable is a measure of ambulatory behaviour, in arbitrary units. Because the drug is known to be metabolized over a period of approximately 1 hour, King recorded his data in 5-minute blocks, or Intervals. But for this data set, we only consider the first six blocks. We would expect to see the effect of the drug increase for the first few intervals and then slowly taper off.
Study 3: Does depressive symptom changes as a response to an earthquake? T
he data set is from Howell [Howell, D.C. (2013). Fundamental statistics for the behavioural sciences (8th ed), Wadsworth: Australia]. Nolen-Hoeksema and Morrow (Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991) accidentally administered a measure of depression to college students three weeks before the Loma Prieta earthquake in California in 1989. This was a major earthquake that would be expected to have measurable effects on students. Having collected these data, they went out and collected repeated data to track adjustment. The data set you can use is not exactly the same, but is modelled loosely on their findings. As this is an observational study, you may want to comment on the strengths/limitations of this type of design.