Guide to using the learning objectives

Learning Objectives for Chapter Seven: Introduction to Descriptive Methods and Correlational Research


Pages 223-232


1.                Outline3 two reasons why descriptive methods cannot test causal hypotheses.

2.                Identify which of the following research goal(s) can be achieved using descriptive methods: description, prediction, explanation, and control.

3.                Discuss2 how descriptive methods can help researchers predict what will happen. Provide3 an example that is not from your text.

4.                Defend4 the following statement, "We need science when describing behavior."

a.     Provide3 four reasons in defense of the above statement.

b.    Generate5 a brief explanation why each of these four reasons is important.

5.                Defend4 the following statement, "The key to getting a representative sample is to get a large and random sample."  Discuss2 what each of the following terms mean as you generate your answer:

a.     representative

b.    random



Pages 232-245


6.                You did an experiment looking at the effect of chocolate consumption on memory.  You also collected data on age, gender and birth order. Later, you decide to see if birth order is related to memory.

a.     Explain2 why this research (birth order and recall) would be considered ex post facto.

b.    Suppose this ex post facto research suggested that first-born children had better memory than later-born children.

                                                  i.       Construct3 a question to assess the study's external validity.

                                                ii.       Construct3 a question to assess the study's construct validity.

                                              iii.      Construct3 a question to assess the study's internal validity.

7.                Define1the term archival data.

8.                Describe2and provide3 an example of each of the following:

a.     collected and coded data

b.    collected but uncoded data

9.                Define1content analysis and explain2 why it is valuable.

10.           Describe2an example of archival data. Criticize2 or praise2 the internal, external, and construct validity of archival data.

11.           Examine4the relationship between archival data and the psychologist's desire to understand the individual.

12.           Provide3an example of each of the following:

a.     naturalistic observation

b.    participant observation.

13.           Compare4 and contrast4 naturalistic and participant observation.

a.     How are they similar?

b.    How are they different (be sure to address their different strengths and weaknesses)?

14.           Imagine you were going to use observation to study rudeness. Decide6 whether you would use participant observation or naturalistic observation. Justify6 your decision.

15.           Describe2 two problems with using observation. For each problem, discuss2 how you could minimize the problem.

16.           Imagine you were to study extroversion and had to choose between using observation or using tests. Compare4 the advantages and disadvantages of each in terms of internal, external, and construct validity. Then, decide6 which method you would use and justify6 your decision.



Pages 245-261


17.           Draw a frequency distribution of the following data: 3, 3, 3, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8. Then, compute the mode, median, and mean of those data. Finally, explain2 why those data are not morally distributed.

18.           Explain why one might want to do a one-sample t test.

19.            Give1 one similarity between doing a one-sample t test and creating a confidence interval.

20.           Explain2 the advantage(s) of constructing a confidence interval over doing a one-sample t test.

21.           Define1positive correlation, negative correlation, and zero correlation.

22.           Explain2 how you can determine from a scatterplot graph whether the correlation (degree of relationship) between 2 variables is positive, negative, or zero.

23.           Generate5a graph that illustrates the following data on scores on an assertiveness scale and scores on an extroversion scale:

assertiveness  = 8, extroversion = 59

assertiveness = 11, extroversion = 63

assertiveness = 10, extroversion = 57

assertiveness = 7, extroversion = 54

assertiveness = 12, extroversion = 64


24.           Distinguish4between a relationship described by a Pearson r  with a positive sign and one described by a negative sign.

25.           Explain2 the difference between a strong correlation and a weak correlation.

26.           Fill in four tables like the table below with the hypothetical results of four studies that looked at the relationship between participants' skill at winning the game "Paper, scissors, stone" and participants' grade-point average. Generate5 results that would express

a.     A strong positive correlation

b.    A strong negative correlation

c.     A weak positive correlation

d.    A weak negative correlation




Participant's number of wins in "paper, rock, scissors" game

Participant's Grade Point Average



Below Average

Above Average

Below Average



Above Average




27.           Define1coefficient of determination. Explain2 how to calculate the coefficient of determination from the Pearson r.

28.           Explain2 (by calculating the coefficient of determination) why

a.     A negative correlation of  -.50 does not indicate a weaker relationship than a positive correlation of +.50

b.    A correlation of -.50 is stronger than a correlation of +.30

c.     A correlation of 50 indicates a stronger relationship than a correlation of -.30

d.    A correlation of +0.1 indicates a weak relationship between variables.



Pages 261-272


29.           Explain2 why obtaining a correlation of .30 in your sample might not indicate that the two variables are correlated in the population.

30.           Explain2 why

a.     the correlation between two variables is more likely to be significantly different from 0 in a study obtaining a correlation coefficient of .90 between the two than in a study obtaining a correlation coefficient of .10.

b.    the correlation between two variables is more likely to be significantly different from 0 in a study obtaining a study based on 100 participants that obtains a correlation coefficient of .30 between two variables than in a study based on 10 participants that obtains the same .30 correlation.

31.           Explain2 the importance of having a random sample of a population for enabling you to know whether you can generalize your results to the population.

32.           Define1median split. Use4 a median split (based on introversion scores) to place the following participants into groups.


Introversion score

Happiness score














33.           Compare4 and contrast4 the advantages and disadvantages of using a median split --instead of testing whether the correlation is significantly different from zero--to look at the relationship between introversion and happiness. (Be sure to discuss power in your response.)

34.           Explain2 why, in terms of power, statistical tests that use more information, provide more information. Then, rank6 the power of the following: (a) ANOVA, (b) t test based on a medium split, (c) t test to determine the significance of a correlation coefficient.

35.           Defend4the following statement, "with correlational research, significant results do not allow you to make cause-effect statements."

36.           Explain2why you might obtain a significant correlation between two variables even though the variables are not really related (a "false alarm").Then, explain2 what you could do to minimize your chances of having such false alarms.

37.           Generate5four reasons why you might fail to find a relationship between variables even though such a relationship exists.


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