Interpreting Research Findings Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 April 2017

Interpreting Research Findings

What follows are my responses to the hypothetical students who responded to the topic: “The human mind is a very powerful tool of research. How does the mind use statistics, deductive logic, and inductive reasoning to interpret research findings? ” Student #1. Since you provided the reference for your response, you may not understand the meaning of plagiarism. For example, the statement from Pinker’s article (p. 2): “In this conception, a computational system … into existence” appears in your response, without quotation marks or a page reference. The addition of the parenthesized word “mind” does not make the excerpt yours.

There are similar examples throughout your response. You might have had difficulty in reading a highly theoretical article: one that actually is from a scholarly journal (Pinker, 2005) and does not address the question of using “statistics, deductive logic, and inductive reasoning to interpret research findings”. Despite adding these phrases to statements from Pinker (paragraphs 2 and 3), you did not answer the question. Student #2. Your first three sentences, though interesting, aren’t related to the question. Note too that conclusions based on using the scientific method are not “right answers/outcomes.

” The closest one can come to a “right answer” requires doing an experiment and then using inferential statistics to conclude that the probability of finding a result such as yours by chance is so low (e. g. , < . 05 or . 01) that it’s reasonable to conclude your experimental manipulation caused your results (Levin, 1999). Almost your entire response is related to descriptive statistics, only one part of the question. Your quote about deductive logic (the only route to certainty) does not explain how it is used, and your quote about inductive reasoning is not, in itself, a complete explanation of how such reasoning is used.

Student #3. Your response was very good. Note that it isn’t possible to free one’s “mind of bias,” which is why methods are used to prevent human biases from influencing the results, as in the classic double-blind experiment, where neither participants nor researchers know who is receiving the placebo and who is receiving the medication (Levin, 1999). Also, your son’s conclusion was valid – a conclusion is valid if it must be true if the premise is true. He was incorrect because his premise was incorrect (typical of a bright three-year-old).

Also, your discussion of inductive reasoning was weak – try thinking in terms of “inferential statistics. ” As an aside, there were some violations of APA rules regarding citations and references. Student #4. Unfortunately, your response does not begin to address the question. Also, in answering a question you weren’t asked, you reached conclusions that have been disconfirmed in previous research. For example, there’s a strong relationship between the behavior of peers and a teenager’s use of nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, etc. , but not a relationship between parent and child use of these substances (reviewed in Harris, 1995).

It’s true that “educational and prevention programs” have not been “cost effective,” but there’s no evidence that such programs are effective at all, i. e. , that they influence teenage-smoking. Before you reach a conclusion on the “something” you will study, you need to read the relevant literature on previous research. Student #5. In a response as brief as yours, the first two sentences should have been related to answering the question. I also have no idea of what your answer means: “to form somewhat of an ‘argument’ that helps to interpret research findings.

” In discussing deductive reasoning, you needed to explain that incorrect premises can result in valid but incorrect conclusions and that factually correct premises can result in incorrect conclusions if the hypothesized conclusions are invalid (e. g. , in the classic example, knowing that “all men are mortal and that Socrates was mortal” does not imply that “Socrates was a man”). You also did not explain how statistics and inductive reasoning are used. Student #6. First, you did not provide any source(s). Had you used a book on statistics and design, e. g. , Levin, 1999, you would have avoided some errors, described below.

Your examples of descriptive statistics are accurate, but your explanation of inferential statistics is not. A sample is used to generalize about a population, not about a larger sample. Also, if “blue” were the favorite color of 80 people in a sample of 100, you could not conclude (or “speculate”) that if you sample 1000 people, blue would be the favorite color of 800. You could conclude, for example, that if you repeatedly (infinitely) sampled 100 people from the same population, the probability of failing to find that a majority favor “blue” is known and small (e. g. , . 05 or . 01).

It may be important to understand correlational research, but the question was to explain how particular tools were used to interpret research findings. One tool, deductive logic, does not, as you stated, “indicate that a series of statements are facts. ” You also needed to use quotation marks in your statement from Kerlinger, 1986, “Hypotheses are declarative … more variables” and the full Kerlinger reference should have been provided (you should not have included references you had not cited).

Finally, your conclusion regarding your dissertation suggests you do not understand how the three research tools noted in the question are used, e. g. , do you intend to use statistics only in your literature review?


Harris, J. R. (1995). Where is the child’s environment? A group socialization theory of development. Psychological Review, 102, 458-490. Levin, I. P. (1999). Relating statistics and experimental design. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Pinker, S. (2005). So how does the mind work? Mind & Language, 20, 1-24.

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