Quantitative Methods Portfolio Task 1: Exploratory Data Analysis

Using “ExploratoryTask1Data.sav” dataset on MOLE you are to summarise some of the measures in a small-scale educational research study. You should use SPSS to generate either tables and/or graphs to analyse the data, justifying your choice of approach, interpreting the output appropriately.

You should not aim to produce statistics or graphs for every aspect of the data but just pick a couple of variables (one scale or ordinal, and one nominal) to produce some appropriate statistical output, interpret your results and justify your choices. See the “assessment criteria” overleaf for examples.

Context of the study

This fictional dataset contains a small number of variables from a study of 21 primary school children. The following variables have been recorded (variable names in brackets):

  • A participant identification number (Participant)
  • The gender of each participant (Gender)
  • The age of each participant in years (age)
  • The result of a short-term memory test (mem_span)
  • The result of a “verbal reasoning” cognitive ability test (verbal)
  • The result of a “reading ability” test (read_ab)
  • Each of the pupils was asked to say how strongly they agreed with the statement “I enjoy reading story books” (reading_pleasure)
  • The pupils were a sample from two classes in the same school, class A and class B (class)

In each of the “tests” higher scores are preferential, so in the case of the “verbal reasoning” test a higher score indicates better verbal reasoning skills than a lower score. This particular test is designed to be an indicator of “pupils who are good with spoken and written words, but who may be weaker with materials such as charts, figures and diagrams” (GL Assessment, 2008, p. 16).

Suggested structure

  • Begin by explaining your research “question” (what variables you are wanting to analyse) from the list on the first page. Discuss the context of the study and what the variable is supposed to measure or represent.
  • Explain what sort of analysis you will conduct (Will you calculate a mean or median? A standard deviation or interquartile range? Will you draw a bar chart or a pie chart? Why?)
    Remember to cite some methods literature to justify your choices.
  • Conduct the analysis and put the output (statistics or graphs) into your report
  • Explain (in words) what these results tell you about the 21 primary school children

Assessment Criteria

  • You should summarise one of the scale or ordinal variables in the dataset using graphs and/or descriptive statistics, considering this in relation to one of the nominal (grouping) variables. For example this could be comparing the “reading score” (scale) for the boys and girls (nominal), or the memory span variable (scale) for class A and class B (nominal).
  • You must justify the types of statistics or graphs you use in relation to the context and the type of data which has been recorded. For example, explain why you have chosen to use the mean or the median, a bar chart or pie chart.
  • You should clearly explain what the results of your analysis tell you, with reference to the context of the study (i.e. what do the results really mean?)

Word limit

There is no strict word limit for this section though your report should aim to be between one and two pages in length. You will only have a word limit for tasks 3 and 5


GL Assessment. (2008). Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) Digital. Primary sample reports. London. Retrieved from http://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/sites/gl/files/images/Files/CAT_Primary_SR_20pp.pdf

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer

error: Content is protected !!