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Consider each of the following scenarios and identify the independent, dependent, and attribute variables

Writing

Consider each of the following scenarios and identify the independent, dependent, and attribute variables. Also name one extraneous variable that should be controlled by the researcher.

a. A group of experienced and “fresh” teachers (with 10 plus years’ and less than two years’ experience, respectively) attended 10 workshop sessions in stress reduction techniques (the treatment). A randomized group of experienced and fresh teachers functioned as a control group. The groups were then compared on a measure of stress (blood pressure). It was found that the treatment was linked to lower levels of stress, with fresh teachers showing a greater effect.        

b. In an attempt to increase the high school graduation rate, a researcher implemented a mentoring program in 10 high schools. Another group of 10 high schools served as a comparison. The researcher found that the mentoring program increased the graduation rate but was more successful for females than males.

c. A researcher tested whether students’ reading comprehension was greater for material read from printed text or from a computer monitor. (The researcher believed that the monitor demanded greater attention, and thus would increase reading comprehension test scores.) The data were analyzed by comparing students with and without home computers. The researcher found no differences between the groups tested.

d. Are students’ grades a function of how much sleep the students get? A researcher wondered about this question and arranged for 100 tenth graders to sleep no less than nine hours a night for a semester. A control group slept in accordance with their natural habits, which averaged about six hours a night. The students were also classified into two groups based on their prior GPAs (3.0 or higher versus less than 3.0). The researcher found that increasing sleep resulted in higher grades during the semester; for the students with lower GPA, the effect was more pronounced.

e. Will students write better if they use a word processor or handwriting? To answer this question, seventh and 10th graders wrote a three-page essay on a computer with a word processing program or by hand on a writing tablet. All essays were rated by independent graders on a 1 to 10 scale reflecting overall quality. (The handwritten essays were transferred to type via a word processor so that the graders, not knowing one group from the other, could not be biased either way.) The researcher found higher ratings across both grades for the word processing group.

f. A researcher showed 50 junior high school classes two different videotapes on the basic principles of electricity. In one condition, the lecture was summarized with a good metaphor. The other condition simply ended without a metaphor. The researcher also tested students’ learning styles, and classified each as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. To measure students’ retention of content a month later, the researcher gave a 10-item multiple-choice test. The findings revealed far greater memory in the metaphor groups, but the learning styles made no difference.

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