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Research Methods and Statistics: Short Answers Prepare written responses to the following questions. The response to each question should be at least 250 words in length.   a)     What are the similarities between descriptive and inferential statistics?…
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Both sets of techniques are similar in that they describe the data collected, and help in evaluating the similarities and differences between the groups being studied. Both inferential and descriptive statistics help the researcher identifying and exploring the trends observed and to make sense of the relationships that are shared by the variables being studied. The main difference between descriptive statistical techniques and inferential ones is that while the descriptive statistics provide information that is limited to the data available, inferential techniques allow the researcher to verify if the observations made from the sample collected may be considered representative of the population from which the sample is drawn (Howitt & Cramer, 2008). While descriptive statistics provide an exact description of the data used, inferential statistics provide an estimate about a larger group. Descriptive statistics are used when it is important to describe the similarities and differences in different groups, to explain the trends observed in the data for a particular group of subjects, and to provide information that may be used to develop hypotheses about the population (Howitt & Cramer, 2008). ...
nd value of the study) it is preferable that the researcher carefully selects a small sample and uses inferential statistics to make estimates about the population (Howitt & Cramer, 2008). b)    What are the similarities between case studies and small-N research designs? What are the differences? When should you use case studies and small-N research designs? Case studies are usually conducted using very few participants, and could also be focused on a single participant (McBurney & White, 2009). These studies describe the experiences of the individuals included in natural, clinical or experimental conditions in great detail, and use techniques of describing data that are both qualitative and quantitative (Christensen, Johnson & Turner, 2010). Case studies are used to describe each individual studied so that the particular aspects of the variables being studied may be discussed. Typical examples of case studies would describe an individual’s pertinent background, their experiences and the way they respond to the chosen stimuli within a setting. While case studies are considered as a type of small-N research design, not all the Small-N studies describe the particular individuals as much as the case study. Some small-N designs are extremely quantitative and although the data collected is from a very small sample, the research study follows a very experimental design (McBurney & White, 2009). Small-N designs are useful when the researcher is trying to evaluate a rarely occurring condition or when a new treatment procedure is being tried out. Case studies, small-N studies and single participant research have been found to provide valuable insights in the fields of psychophysics, clinical research and cognitive psychology (McBurney & White, 2009). Although the main ... Read More
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