This web site provides an interesting and relatively simple project designed to teach students the basics of a correlational study. There are links to six short personality measures, each of which yields one or more scores. This data, plus several additional variables which are suggested, is entered into a statistical analysis program (presumed to be SPSS) and analyzed following the provided instructions. The site provides a reasonably easy and relevant interactive method for students to learn to a) test themselves, b) gather data, and c) utilize data for analysis.
Type of Material:
This is an interactive project which requires reading and responding to survey-type questions, collecting data and transcribing scores, inputting data into a statistical analysis program, and generating and discussing the results.
This can be used as a class assignment where individual student data can be aggregated for analysis. It can be used in a beginning statistics/research course, as well as in a beginning assessment course.
Availability of statistical analysis software is required. This may require a minimum hardware configuration.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To quote the author: "The purpose of this laboratory project is to gain some experience with the correlational method of data collection and analysis."
Target Student Population:
The intended audience appears to be college or advanced high school students studying research methods, statistics, and/or the construction of assessment tools.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
This exercise presumes a basic understanding of statistics.
This is a simple and understandable project that will have beneficial learning outcomes because of the intrinsic interest of the activities and the hands on nature of the activities. Students will find this approach engaging. The surveys provided for this project are relevant to student interests or concerns (e.g., test anxiety), simple to understand, easy to take, and yield instant scores for analysis. All the links on this site work well. The site author suggests incorporating other data, such as GPAs and gender, into students' correlational analyses. This site could also be used to introduce concepts in assessment, especially survey construction.
The site appears to be tailored for a specific class rather than general use, whereby instructions for data analysis are not clear. Approaches to statistical analysis are not explained. Instructors wishing to use this site would have to augment the site instructions for analysis in order to provide clarity to students. Instructors must also ensure students have necessary computer skills and software.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This correlational project is quite appealing because it involves responding to several (6) personality measures, which most students enjoy. In addition, there is a social component through which individual scores are aggregated for analysis.
This site requires direct instructor input. Instructors will have to provide specific instructions and/or information to students regarding the collected data, or the design of surveys
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The directions and tasks are simple and easy to complete.
There may be an issue with the use of statistical analysis software. The directions given indicate that the author has one particular product in mind (probably SPSS). That product isn't always available,
so the project would benefit from the inclusion to a web-based correlation application which all users would have access to. Then the step-by-step instructions for the analysis could be standardized and would be applicable for all users.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is a well conceived activity with a clear purpose. It suffers a bit in execution due to some ambiguous instructions and the implied use of a specific statistical analysis product. However, with very little effort I was able to incorporate it into my online Experimental Psychology course as a fun and educationally valuable project.
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