# Speaking from experience, I use descriptive statistics quite frequently after grading my student’s exams and assignments.

Unit2DiscResp1

Response Guidelines

Provide a substantive contribution that advances the discussion in a meaningful way by identifying strengths of the posting, challenging assumptions, and asking clarifying questions. Your response is expected to reference the assigned readings, as well as other theoretical, empirical, or professional literature to support your views and writings. Reference your sources using standard APA guidelines. Review the Participation Guidelines section of the Discussion Participation Scoring Guide to gain an understanding of what is required in a substantive response.

Discussion response Peer1 Cait Bahr

While some individuals may not recognize the term descriptive statistics, there is an extremely high probability that they have used, referenced or referred to them while participating in their daily life. Warner (2013) states that descriptive statistics are mainly used to summarize information or numbers from samples. These statistics can be used to find the mean of test scores (if you are a teacher), or for something as simple as political polling during an election period (Warner, 2013). While there are appropriate times and ways to utilize descriptive statistics, there are also times when descriptive statistics should not be used (Warner, 2013). For example, if researchers are trying to find the side effects of specific medications, they would choose not to use descriptive statistics because they are too generalized (Warner, 2013). If researchers were to use descriptive statistics to find the side effects, the samples could be skewed (Warner, 2013). While there are limitations to descriptive statistics (ie. medicine, research studies, etc.) it can still be extremely beneficial for people who work in certain professions (Warner, 2013).

Speaking from experience, I use descriptive statistics quite frequently after grading my student’s exams and assignments. It is interesting to add up all of the student’s scores (mean) and see how they compared to prior tests or against other classes. Finding the mean of the exams also allows the students to see how they are doing overall. While I currently use descriptive statistics in my job, I know my future career with undoubtedly requires the use of descriptive statistics too. After graduating with my MA in Psychology with a specialization in ABA, I am going to take the BCBA certification test. If everything goes as planned, then I will be a board certified behavior analyst. As a BCBA, I will be recording data and will be responsible for conducting behavioral assessments. I would definitely be able to utilize descriptive statistics while recording frequency or duration data. Using descriptive statistics to find the means of duration and frequency data will be useful for not only myself but for other teachers and parents to see how the students are performing behaviorally.

In my previous experience, aside from work, I have seen descriptive statistics predominately during the US Presidential Election. Every time I turned on the news there were always polls or statistics depicting the possible outcome of the Presidency based on samples. While this was interesting to see then, I now realize that these polls had limitations and were too generalized.

Reference

Warner, R. M. (2013). Applied Statistics From Bivariate Through Multivariate Techniques (2nd ed.). Thousand Oakes, CA: SAGE Publications.

Discussion Response Peer2 Teddrick

I have encountered descriptive statistics various times throughout my undergraduate career, and a handful of times during my post undergrad classes. When I majored in Neuroscience, we would often deal lightly with descriptive statistics when writing lab reports or research papers for biology, chemistry, and physics. Typically this involved putting data into Microsoft Excel and creating a line graph detailing how two variables were related. Last quarter, in my Tests and Measurements course, I came across a couple of different journal articles using descriptive statistics to evaluate individuals with various psychological disorders.

Descriptive statistics is defined as a form of statistics dedicated solely to summarizing information about a particular sample (Warner, 2012). Unlike inferential statistics, the information gathered from descriptive statistics cannot be generalized to a larger population, which could be considered a limitation (Warner, 2012). The use of descriptive statistics also runs the risk of losing vital information related to the data (“Descriptive Statistics,” 2006). For example, knowing a participant’s heart rate does not tell us about important factors that could contribute to the heart rate, such as stress level and physical fitness. However, descriptive statistics is particularly useful for summarizing a large amount of data and making it easier to understand, as well as to make comparisons (“Descriptive Statistics,” 2006).

In the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and ABA therapy, behavior analysts often utilize descriptive statistics to portray a client’s progress during therapy. For example, if a target of therapy is to reduce the amount of tantrums a child engages in, we might take data before the intervention, and then several times while the intervention is being implemented. The data lets us know whether the intervention is successful. Furthermore, data taken by observation can also give clues as to when a tantrum is more likely to occur (e.g. time of day, before or after an activity). I am sure that, when I become a behavior analyst, I will utilize descriptive statistics often in order to summarize data for families to understand the effect that a certain intervention has on their child’s behavior.

References

Warner, R. M. (2013). Applied statistics: From bivariate through multivariate techniques, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Descriptive Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/statdesc.php

Unit2DiscResp2

Response Guidelines

Provide a substantive contribution that advances the discussion in a meaningful way by identifying strengths of the posting, challenging assumptions, and asking clarifying questions. Your response is expected to reference the assigned readings, as well as other theoretical, empirical, or professional literature to support your views and writings. Reference your sources using standard APA guidelines. Review the Participation Guidelines section of the Discussion Participation Scoring Guide to gain an understanding of what is required in a substantive response.

Discussion Response Peer1 (Teddrick)

What is a confidence interval? According to the reading material assigned in the course, it is a range (top and bottom) value to the set of numbers to address the mean of the population giving the researcher an idea of the probability or level of confidence (Warner, 2013). Upon more research regarding this, I was better to understand that a confidence interval is basically to estimate the mean of a population. The confidence interval focuses on this by providing the range of values, scores or numbers that may be contained in the population of interest (Horrell, Michelson, McCormack, & Prins, 2012).What I am putting together with this is that if we have a group of grades from an entire school district, the confidence interval is going to be a pool of those grades to give us the mean for the students in that school district. This would be a level of confidence for the research to say that the sample pulled from the entire population would represent the entire pool on the graph created showing those numbers or scores.Why does the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association strongly recommend the inclusion of CI’s in study results? It is strongly suggested to include CI’s in study results and reporting so that there is enough information for whom ever is reading to be able to understand what they are reading. The reader should be able to recognize and understand the basics of the analyses, come up with some estimates and summaries from the information that is provided. It was also suggested that when a study includes the use of graphs or table that includes a reference of a mean or slopes, which it does need to include the confidence interval (Association, 2010). It really seems that they important factor with including the confidence intervals in any report is because it is a really good way to get across the results of a study in a visual manner, due to showing the effect and size of the study, showing where the mean of the sample is, and if that sample is skewed or is “normal” by the shape of the slopes (Association, 2010).

ReferencesAssociation, A. P. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Horrell, K., Michelson, D., McCormack, D., & Prins, J. (2012, April). NIST/SEMATECH e-Handbook of Statistical Methods. Retrieved from http://www.itl.nist.gov/div898/handbook/

Warner, R. M. (2013). Applied Statistics: From Bivariate Through Multivariate Techniques (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Discussion Response Peer2 (Cait)

Confidence intervals (CI) are used to derive or estimate information given from a sample (Warner, 2013). Additionally, CI’s are also utilized to find the mean or values of samples (Warner, 2013). In many instances, CI’s can be used to estimate a population mean, probability and will determine the lower and upper limit (mean) of values from samples and/or data (Warner, 2013). While CI’s are completely appropriate to use when finding the sample mean, the value of a population or Pearsons r, it is important to remember that CI’s should not be used to generalize an entire population (Warner, 2013).

In the article, The Use of Confidence Intervals as a Meta-Analytic Lens to Summarize the Effects of Teacher Education Technology Courses on Preservice Teacher TPACK, the researchers used CI’s to find the mean of teaching technology (TKTT) in a University classroom (Young, Young & Hamilton, 2013). Specifically, Young et al., (2013) used CI’s to summarize their quantitative TPAK data to determine the value of the samples and find the mean of the scores. Using CI’s in this article, provided an excellent example of why researchers would use CI’s in statistical analysis. In short, the main goal of using CI’s in this type of study would be to create data that could determine the means of achievement, summarize the data (based on the samples) and estimate the means of the sample population (Young et al., 2013).

CI’s were said to be extremely useful in Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The APA manual stated that CI’s should be used to determine major outcomes in statistics (Warner, 2013). By using CI’s, the APA manual believes that researchers will be able to obtain many sample statistics and effect sizes (Warner, 2013). Additionally, it was also stated that CI’s should be used for sample means (Warner, 2013). However, while CI’s can be incredibly beneficial, it is important to remember that they should never be used to make inferences about the general population as a whole, as that data would be too generalized and not entirely accurate (Warner, 2013).

Reference

Warner, R. M. (2013). Applied Statistics From Bivariate Through Multivariate Techniques (2nd ed.). Thousand Oakes, CA: SAGE Publications.

Young, J. R., Young, J. L., & Hamilton, C. (2013). The Use of Confidence Intervals as a Meta-Analytic Lens to Summarize the Effects of Teacher Education Technology Courses on Preservice Teacher TPACK. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(2), 149-172.