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Discussion Three

1. Why are the measurement concepts of reliability and validity important to the research

process? What dangers might there be if researchers did not establish reliability and

validity when testing hypotheses?

The measurement concepts of reliability and validity are important to the research

process because reliability is the degree to which the test, or measurement tool, measures

something consistently and validity indicates that the test measures what it is supposed to

measure (Salkind, 2013). If a researcher does not establish both reliability and validity when

testing a hypothesis, then they risk a high degree of error in the observed score and they also

risk the test not doing what it should (Salkind, 2013).

2. What are the two types of research hypotheses? How are they different? How would

you determine which type you are testing? What is meant by one-tailed and twotailed tests? Give an example of a research question for each.

The two types of research hypotheses are the null hypothesis and the research hypothesis

(Salkind, 2013). They differ in that the null hypothesis is the starting point that assumes no

relationship between variables while the research hypothesis is a definite statement that a

relationship exists between variables (Salkind, 2013). When doing your research and

analysis, you are ultimately testing both hypotheses to determine which one is accurate the

null that states there is no relationship or the research hypothesis which indicates there is a

relationship (Salkind, 2013). Another important point is that a hypothesis can be either

directional or non-directional and this impacts which test to use (Salkind, 2013). A one-tailed

test is used for directional hypotheses, meaning that the difference moves in a specified

direction (Salkind, 2013). For example, a directional hypothesis may say that as GPA goes

up so does self-esteem. A two-tailed test is used for non-directional hypotheses, where it is

DISCUSSION THREE

not specified which direction the difference moves toward (Salkind, 2013). For example, as

GPA changes, so does self-esteem.

3. What is a normal curve? What are the characteristics associated with a normal curve?

A normal curve is more commonly known as a bell curve because of the shape it takes

when visually representing a distribution of all scores in which the mean, median, and mode

are all equal to each other (Salkind, 2013). It is perfectly symmetrical and the tails are

asymptotic (they never touch the x-axis), meaning that extreme scores are possible (Salkind,

2013). It has just one hump and the hump is directly in the middle (Salkind, 2013). There is

no skewness to a normal curve (Salkind, 2013).

4. What is meant by the term significance? How is significance level related to what you

learned in previous chapters about probability?

The term significance means that any difference between variables is due to some sort of

influence and not just mere chance (Salkind, 2013). Probability and significance are closely

related, as probability is actually a part of determining significance (Salkind, 2013). When

we know the exact probability of an outcome, we can more precisely measure the risk we are

willing to take (Salkind, 2013). That leads me to significance level, which is defined as the

risk set by the researcher for rejecting a null hypothesis when it is actually true (Salkind,

2013). Statistical significance is usually represented as p < .05, meaning that the probability

of observing that outcome is less than .05 (Salkind, 2013). This illustrates how probability

and significance go hand in hand.

DISCUSSION THREE

References

Salkind, N.J. (2013). Statistics for people who (think they) hate statistics (The third Excel 2010

edition). Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publication.

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