WHAT IS RESEARCH ALL ABOUT, ANYWAY?

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Methods of
Measuring
Behavior
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Tests and Their Development

Types of Tests

Observational Techniques

Questionnaires
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.


Is the tool you propose to use reliable and
valid?
Base your choice of research tools on how
you have asked the research question.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

List five reasons why tests are useful.

Discuss the various types of tests and how they are used.

Conduct an item analysis identifying the discrimination and
difficulty indices for each item in a test.

Explain the difference between the discrimination index
and the difficulty index.

List the various techniques used to record behavior.

Write questions using a Thurstone scale and a Likert scale.

List the factors to consider in order to make questionnaires
successful.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.


A test should measure the nature and extent
of individual differences
A good test differentiates people based on
their true scores
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

To help determine outcomes of experiments

To diagnose strengths and weaknesses

To assist in placing individuals in appropriate
programs

To assist in selecting applicants

To evaluate a program’s effectiveness
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
What It Does
Achievement Test
Assesses an individual’s knowledge of a
specific area
Attitude Test
Assesses an individual’s feelings about an
issue
Personality Test
Assesses stable individual behavior patterns
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Standardized
◦ Commercially prepared for wide use
◦ Scoring instructions included

Researcher/Teacher-made
◦ Designed by user for specific purpose
◦ Scoring instructions specific to test
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.


Norm-referenced—individual’s scores are
compared to results from a larger group
Criterion-referenced—individual’s scores
are compared to defined performance
standards
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
12. Intelligence tests that are given to
preschool children
a. favor middle-class children
STEM
Clearly written
CORRECT
ANSWER
b. have questionable construct validity
c. are based on motor skills
d. are no fun at all
DISTRACTERS
Should be plausible (b & c), not easily ruled out (d)
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Advantages
Versatile
Easy to score
Simple to take
Poor writers not
penalized
◦ Good items used
again
◦ Good distracters are
diagnostic
◦ Hard to fake correct
answer
◦
◦
◦
◦

Disadvantages
◦ Limit student’s
options
◦ No opportunity to
practice writing
◦ Some people don’t
do well on them
◦ Limits content to be
assessed
◦ Items must be well
written
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.


Questions should discriminate those who
know the material from those who don’t
Item analysis provides two measures of a
question’s ability to discriminate
◦ Difficulty index
◦ Discrimination index
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
1.
Rank scores from highest to lowest
2.
Choose top 27% of scores for “high” group
3.
Choose bottom 27% of scores for “low” group
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
12. Intelligence tests that are given to preschool children
a. favor middle-class children
b. have questionable construct validity
c. are based on motor skills
d. are no fun at all
Item Alternative
A
B
C
D
Total
High Group
(n = 41)
23
12
4
2
41
Low Group
(n = 41)
11
9
15
6
41
Total
34
21
19
8
82
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
Difficulty index
 Proportion who
answered item
correctly

D = NCh + NCl
T
Discrimination index
 Proportion in high
group who answered
correctly minus
proportion in low
group who answered
correctly
 D = NCh - NCl
(.5)T
NCh = number of people in high group answering correctly
NCl = number of people in low group answering correctly
T
= total number of people in high and low groups
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
Discrimination Level
+1.00
0
50%
0%
Perfect
discrimination
when:
½ gets item
right,
½ gets item
wrong
&
100%
½ right is in
upper half,
½ wrong is in
lower half
-1.00
Difficulty Level
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Statements are written indicating an attitude
toward a topic

Judges rank the statements from least
favorable to most favorable

Statements receiving consistent ratings are
given the average score

A set of statements is selected that covers the
entire range of attitudes
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Respondents check items with which they
agree
◦ Well-formed attitudes are indicated by consistently
checking either high or low items
◦ Poorly-formed or inconsistent attitudes are
indicated by inconsistent patterns or by checking
off many neutral items
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.



Statements are written indicating an attitude
toward a topic
Items with clearly positive or negative
attitudes are selected
Statements are listed with a space for
respondent to indicate degree of agreement
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
Directions: Indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with the statements
listed below by circling one of the following:
SA means that you strongly agree with the statement (value = 5)
A means that you agree with the statement (value = 4)
U means that you are undecided about the statement (value = 3)
D means that you disagree with the statement (value = 2)
SD means that you strongly disagree with the statement (value = 1)
Item
Rating
Government has no business funding
child care programs.
SD
D
U
A
SA
Child care should be supported by
federal, state, and local tax dollars.
SD
D
U
A
SA
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
Item
Rating
Government has no business funding
child care programs.
SD
D
U
A
SA
Child care should be supported by
federal, state, and local tax dollars.
SD
D
U
A
SA

Items are weighted

Weights of unfavorable items are reversed

Average score is computed
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Projective tests
◦ Present respondent with ambiguous stimulus

Structured tests
◦ Questions are objective
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Researcher observes and records

Does not interfere with behavior
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
Technique
How it Works
Example
Duration recording
The researcher records
the length of time that a
behavior occurs.
How much time is spent
in verbal interaction
between two children?
Frequency recording
The researcher records
the number of times a
behavior occurs.
How often are questions
asked?
Interval recording or
time sampling
The researcher observes
a subject for a fixed
amount of time.
Within a 60-second
period, how many times
do members of the group
talk to another person?
Continuous recording
The researcher records
everything that happens.
During a 1-hour period, all
the behavior of a 6-yearold boy is recorded.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Observer effects

Observer bias

Fatigue

Changing definitions
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

What they are
◦ Paper and pencil tests with structured questions
◦ Self-administered
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Advantages
◦ Can be mailed out
◦ Can be done online
 (www.surveymonkey.com, www.zoomerang.com and
www.surveygizmo.com among others)
◦
◦
◦
◦

Survey broad geographic area
Cheaper than one-on-one interview
Respondents may be more honest
Data easy to share with other researchers
Disadvantage
◦ Low return rate
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Does not make unreasonable demands upon
the respondent

Does not have a hidden purpose

Requests information that respondents
presumably have

Contains interesting questions

Does not request information that could be
obtained by other means
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.


The questionnaire contains questions that
can be answered
The questionnaire contains questions that are
straightforward
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

The presentation is attractive, professional, and
easy to understand

Questions and pages are clearly numbered

Directions are clear and explicit

Questions are objective

Questions are ordered sensibly

Transitions are used from one topic to the next

Examples are given when necessary
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

Informs the recipient about the research

Establishes the importance of the research

Makes the recipient a part of the research
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.

List five reasons why tests are useful?

Discuss the various types of tests and how they are
used?

Conduct an item analysis identifying the discrimination
and difficulty indices for each item in a test?

Explain the difference between the discrimination index
and the difficulty index?

List the various techniques used to record behavior?

Write questions using a Thurstone scale and a Likert
scale?

List the factors to consider in order to make
questionnaires successful?
2011 Pearson Prentice Hall, Salkind.
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