ERIC Number: ED341710
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Factors Affecting the Misinterpretation of Research.
Forsyth, G. Alfred; And Others
To determine the factors that influence interpretation of a research study description, 8 descriptions of research studies were interpreted by 320 undergraduate students in psychology, mathematics, and economics statistics and research methods classes at the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), Millersville University (Pennsylvania), or Bloomsburg University (Pennsylvania). Results of stepwise multiple regression analyses indicate that students in all three disciplines base judgments of the generalizability of research findings and confidence in drawing cause-and-effect conclusions on their belief that there is an independent-dependent variable relationship. Students attended to neither the existence of random sampling in generalizing findings, nor the use of random assignment in drawing cause-and-effect conclusions. Students in second-level psychology courses and lower-level mathematical statistics courses incorrectly altered their confidence in drawing cause-and-effect conclusions based on the statistic used rather than the research methods reported. A research methods taxonomy is presented for overcoming these errors in interpreting research. Greater emphasis on interpretation-of-research assignments in statistics and methods courses is recommended. Three tables, 16 figures, and a 10-item list of references are included. (Author/SLD)
Descriptors: Data Interpretation, Economics, Foreign Countries, Generalization, Higher Education, Knowledge Level, Mathematics, Methods Courses, Misconceptions, Multiple Regression Analysis, Psychology, Research Methodology, Research Problems, Research Reports, Research Utilization, Sampling, Scientific Concepts, Student Attitudes, Undergraduate Students
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bloomsburg University PA; Cause Effect Relationship; Dependent Variables; Millersville University PA; Misinterpretation; University of Victoria BC
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (99th, San Francisco, CA, August 16-20, 1991).