Essays for Final Exam

Note that the final exam will be fully in essay format. A subset of the essays included here will be presented at the exam. Please let me know if you  have any questions or would like to meet ahead of time to discuss.

1. Describe the distinction between the “theoretical” and “empirical” worlds. In your answer, address how these “worlds” speak to both the theoretical and research-related elements of science.

2. Describe Kuhn’s stages of “paradigmatic development” within a scientific field. In your answer, address how Garcia’s research on animal learning with rats relates to Kuhn’s model.

3. Describe the nature of variables in research. In your answer, address the distinctions between “independent” and “dependent” variables along with the distinction between variables framed at an abstract level versus variables frames in terms of an operational definition.

4. Suppose you wanted to study the relationship between anxiety and score on a math test. Briefly describe two studies – one should be a “correlational study” and the other should be “experimental” – in your answer, address which aspects of each study make it that particular kind of study. Finally, discuss the issues of “internal” and “external” validity as they relate to your studies.

5. Suppose you would like to create a new measure of trait anxiety. Briefly describe how you would go about this process – along with how you would document the reliability and validity of your measure. Be sure to address at least two kinds of reliability along with at least two specific kinds of validity.

6. Suppose you conducted a study to see the inter-relationship between gender, dominance, and aggressive tendencies as they relate to each other – and as they relate to social popularity. Create a well-argued case for how these variables might relate to each other – and draw out a model of the relationships between these variables as they relate to “structural equation modeling” – note that as long as your case is well-reasoned, it’s good (i.e., your model doesn’t have to be “right” per se!). Think boxes with variable names and arrows in a flowchart.

7. Suppose you conducted a two-way between-subjects ANOVA to see how college major (engineering or psychology) and gender (male or female) affect how many sporting events people go to. Suppose there’s an interaction between gender and major – with female engineers being relatively likely to go to sporting events – and male psychology students being relatively likely to go to sporting events. Briefly write a results section (with made-up data) on this – and draw a graph demarcating this interaction.

8. Suppose you wanted to conducted a multiple regression to see how well high school GPA, Math SAT score, and Verbal SAT score predict GPA in college. Write a brief results section (with made-up data and findings) to explicate the basic ideas of regression.

9. Describe the difference between statistical significance and effect size. Be sure to give examples of each. Also, describe the concepts of Type I and Type II error – along with giving examples of each.

10. Describe the ideas of “reactivity,” “bias,” and “demand characteristics” in research. In your answer, describe at least one example of each of these different kinds of these phenomena – and address how they could adversely affect research. Also, for each kind, address steps that researchers can take  to address each of these three kinds of issues.

11. Suppose you wanted to study the question of whether levels of extraversion change across time. Describe a longitudinal study that would address this. In your answer, address the pattern of data you would expect to find along with a way that you would analyze the data.