How well specified is her hypothesis?

PSYC 100 – Essay #1
Suppose your friend announces that, for her senior honors research project, she is going to
“conduct an experiment testing my theory that upper class men and women (i.e., juniors and
seniors) do better academically (i.e., get better grades) than freshmen and sophomores because
they take a more serious approach to their studies.”
When you ask your friend to describe her method, she says, “I’m going to survey a random
sample of seniors selected from my honors class. I’ll ask them whether they agree or disagree
with the statement: ‘As a senior, I take a more serious and mature approach to college than I did
as a freshman.’”
After the data have been collected and analyzed, your roommate learns that over 90 percent of
those surveyed agreed with the statement. She concludes that her study “proves that upper class
men and women are, in fact, more serious students.”
Discussion and Critique – DEADLINE: Sunday, November 1, 2015, at 11:59 PM.
Note: When considering the questions below, it would be better (i.e., worth more points) if your
answers are more informative than a mere “yes” or “no,” or a few sentences. Keep in mind that
each essay is worth 5% of your course grade. In other words, a response limited to just a couple
of sentences is very unlikely to earn credit. So first, think very carefully about the question
that is being asked, determine what information is needed to construct a good answer to that
question, and then compose your answer in essay form.
IMPORTANT: You should pay very careful attention to the Stangor text’s description and
explanation of how scientific research is carried put (chapter 2) and to the lecture material,
posted under “Content” on LEO, before attempting to answer these questions. Failing to
do so will result in your submission of a suboptimal essay and receiving a low grade on the
assignment.
In your essay, answer all four (4) questions to the best of your ability. Remember that this is
an essay assignment. Therefore, do not number your answers.
1. First, consider your friend’s hypothesis (i.e., her assertion, or statement, about the proposed
relationship between the independent and dependent variables):
– How well specified is her hypothesis? In other words, how clearly does she describe the
exact relationship she claims exists between the independent and dependent variables?
– Can you restate the hypothesis in more specific terms?
– To what extent is her hypothesis testable by the study she has proposed? In other words,
how well did she translate her hypothesis into her study? Be sure to consider these:
– Are all the important concepts and terms used in the study adequately defined?

PSYC 100 – Essay #1
– Did she use operational definitions?
– Would you have defined the important terms, variables, etc., differently? Be specific.
2. Second, consider the evidence (i.e., data) your friend collected in support of her hypothesis.
– Is the evidence empirical? Why or why not? Be specific.
– Is it based on valid, trustworthy research? Why or why not? Be specific.
– Does her evidence, in fact, support her assertion? Why or why not? Be specific.
3. Third, evaluate your friend’s proposed explanation of her findings.
– Does her explanation make sense, based on the evidence she collected?
– Are there any alternative explanations that could adequately explain the evidence
(and can you state such an alternative explanation)?
– How well would your alternative explanation(s) account for the evidence gathered
by your friend?
– Has your friend’s study ruled out any of these alternative explanations (i.e., by using
the appropriate experimental controls)?
4. Finally, please describe how you would design a study that would properly test
(i.e., by using the appropriate experimental controls) your alternative explanation
against the one proposed by your friend?

Rubric for Methodology Essay
Correctly ID Hypothesis (H)
Valid Analysis of H
Correctly ID Evidence
Valid Analysis of Evidence
Correctly ID Explanation
Valid Analysis of Explanation
Valid Alternative Hypothesis (H’)
Valid Analysis of H’
Valid Proposed Test of H’
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