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_-Writing a Method Section - UMass Lowell

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Writing a Method Section
Describing measures
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Steps in this tutorial
1) State the goals of this tutorial2) What is a method section3) What is in a method section4) What is the measures part of a method section5) What goes in the measures section6) The specific elements of a measures section7) Detailed example of a measures section
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Goals of this tutorial
Explain the purpose of a method sectionDemonstrate the measures section of the method section
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Objectives
By the end of this tutorial you should be able toArticulate what the method section of a psychology paper isState what goes in that sectionState the components of a measures sectionDraft a measures section for yourown work
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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What is a Method Section?
It is the part of the proposal or research paper that describes the methods used to collect the dataIt follows the introductionIt allows the reader to understand how the data were collected, and to judge for herself if she thinks the methods were goodIt should be detailed enough for a good researcher to be able to replicate the study from reading the method section
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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What is the Method section?
The method section contains several sectionsParticipantsWho was in the studyProcedureWhat happened studyMeasures/MaterialsWhat measures were used—like surveysOr what materials—like special labequipementAnalysis section-not covered inthesetutorialsDescribes the statistical analysis
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Method Section-Measures
This tutorial demonstrates themeasuresormaterialssectionOther tutorials cover theparticipantsandproceduressections
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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What are Measures?
Measures are the source of the actual dataThese can beInterviewsSurveysMeasurements of physical characteristicsHeightweight
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Why describe measures?
Because measures are the source of your data, all the resultsreston whether or not the measures are adequateDescribing the measures helps the reader judge whether or not the results are validThe measures section may be a lengthy and detailed section
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Measures
Measures include the following elements:The construct or variable being measuredThe name of the measureA citation for the measure if it is publishedHow many items thereareA sample itemHow items are scoredWhat higher and lower scores meanResearch or data supporting the reliability of the measureResearch supporting the validity of the measure
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Aconstruct or variable being measured
A construct is an idea or conceptA construct might be depression, aggression, abuse, agitationThere can be more than one measure for a single constructThere can be several constructs in one studyA variable is simply something that is measuredLike height, weight or incomeMany studies measure constructsandvariables
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Name of the Measure/Citation
Constructs such as anxiety, risk behaviors, attitudes about marriage, etc., are likely (hopefully) using an existing measure.Existing measures have formal names and usually abbreviationsIf it is a published measure it should be cited
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Construct/Measure name/Citation-Example
Two measures of child behavior problemsChild Behavior ProblemsParent reported child behavior problems were measured with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach &Edelbrock, 1991)…Parent reported child behavior problems were also measured with theEybergChild Behavior Inventory (ECBI;Eyberg&Pincus, 1999)…
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Notes on the Example
Child behavior problems is the constructThe first measure is the Child Behavior Checklist, abbreviated CBCLThe authors are cited using proper citation styleThe second measure is theEybergChild Behavior Inventory, abbreviated ECBI.The authors are cited using proper citation style
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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A sample item
It is very helpful for the reader to include an actual question or item from the measure that is describedThis helps the reader see how items are wordedHow long items may beHow complicated wording may beWhat types of issues are asked about
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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How Items are Scored
Items may be scored in different ways, such asTrue/falseNever, rarely, sometimes, often, alwaysWord scoring is often assigned a numberThis should be described so the reader can understand the choices participants had for answering questionsThis helps the reader judge if the measure was adequate
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Number of items/Sample item/Scoring-Example
Here is an exampleThe CBCL is a 113 item checklist of behavior problems. Parents are asked how often each behavior occurs compared to their experience of other similar age children currently or within the past 6 months. Items are scored on a scale of (0)= not true, (1)=sometimes true, and (2)= often true. Sample items include “bites fingernails” and “argues a lot.”
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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What high and low scores mean
Reader don’t automatically know what high and low scores meanFor instance, that a higher score on a depression scale means more depressive symptomsScales are not always scored in obvious waysReaders need to know exactly what the range of possible scores is, and what higher or lower scores represent
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Range and High and Low Scores-Example
For a measure of psychopathyThe PCL-Rhas 20 items and possible scores range from 0 to 40, where higher scores indicate more psychopathic behaviors and attitudes.
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Reliability and Validity ofaMeasure
There must be evidence thatameasure is reliable and validUsually this will come from the published literature
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Reliability ofaMeasure
Descriptions should state support for the reliability of the measureDifferent types of reliability may be important forameasureTest-retest reliability and internal consistency reliability for survey measuresInterraterreliability for observational measures
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Reliability of the Measure-Example
For a survey measureThe Beck Anxiety Inventory has been shown to have one-week test-retest reliability of .75 (Beck, Epstein, Brown & Steer, 1988). Internal consistency reliability in the current sample was .80.
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Validity of the Measure
There are manymanytypes of validityMeasure do not have to be shown to be valid in all waysBut some evidence of validity is usually necessary
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Validity of the Measure-Example
For a survey measureThe Beck Anxiety Inventory has been shown to be able to discriminate anxious from non-anxious patients, and is also correlated with other measures of anxiety (Beck, Epstein, Brown & Steer, 1988).
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Measures-Summary
Measures needs to be clearly described so the reader can understand what how the constructs and variables of interest were measured, and judge if the measures were goodThere are several components to describing a measureDescribing a measure usually requires citations from the published literature
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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Summary
This tutorial explained the purpose and parts of a method section of an empirical paper or proposalIt reviewed in detail the specific components that may be in a measures sectionIt demonstrated several examples of measures sections
Created by Alice Frye, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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_-Writing a Method Section - UMass Lowell