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The Relationship Between Prayer Frequency and Anxiety

Background of the Research


This assignment requires you to collect data from participants, analyze the data, and draw a conclusion regarding what you found. To understand what the research is let me provide you with some background. First, this research is interested to see if there is a correlation between the amount of time people pray and how anxious they are. Actually, we want to see if there is a general correlation between prayer and anxiety. Are people who pray frequently less anxious than those who don’t? We can’t find cause and effect in this situation because there are way too many variables that could get in the way of isolating any one variable as the cause of another. However, we can see if there is a correlation.

The research question then is simply this: “Is there a relationship between prayer and anxiety? Does pray seem to be associated with people who show low levels of anxiety?” From this point, we would do a significant amount of research to develop a solid literature review. You will not have to do that for this assignment, we are simply going to assume that this was done and that you can move forward. The difficulty now is how do we “operationalize” our variables. The first variable, the independent variable, is the frequency of prayer. Do we want to measure daily prayer, weekly prayer, monthly prayer, etc. to determine the frequency of prayer?

It is really up to us so for this project let’s ask people how frequently they pray in a week. Therefore, our independent variable of “Frequency of prayer” is operationalized to mean how frequently people pray on a weekly basis, and we will leave the idea of prayer up to them. We won’t define it but we will let them do so. If you wanted to be more precise you can select the type of prayer, but in this case, we will stay fairly general. The dependent variable is harder to operationalize. How do we measure a level of anxiety? Luckily, that has been done for us in the world of psychology through numerous instruments. In our case, we are going to use the Beck Anxiety Inventory which you were asked to look over in the study section.

So, the level of anxiety for us is operationalized to be the score one achieves on the Beck Anxiety Inventory. We can now say our hypothesis is the following: When people pray frequently, they exhibit less anxiety. Ladies and gentlemen, I understand there are some problems with what we are doing here and if you can see them fantastic! For now, though, let’s use a correlational approach to see if there is a relationship between prayer and anxiety.

Here is how you are going to execute your experiment: First, download the Beck’s Anxiety Instrument Secondly, recruit 10 volunteers to participate in your experiment Ask each person how often they pray from Monday through Sunday Record their answer as the X variable Administer the Beck Anxiety Instrument to them Score the Instrument and record that score as their Y variable Create a table that looks like this: Prayer Frequency (X) Anxiety Score (Y) 15 27 7 35 1 39 12 22 10 19 6 20 2 38 24 20 3 36 4 36 Plug these numbers into the correlation calculator You will get a result that looks like this: The value of R is -0.7138. This is a moderate negative correlation, which means there is a tendency for high X variable scores to go with low Y variable scores (and vice versa). If you remember anything about correlations you will recall that the closer the value of R is to 1.0 the stronger the relationship is between the two variables. If the value of R is negative it means the more one goes up the more the other goes down. Likewise, in the case where the value of R is positive, then they rise and fall together. Once you have your data and results, you need to write up a results and discussion section. Model that after what you have seen in the articles you have been reviewing and the articles and literature you studied this week.

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