Research Methods

Assignment #1

I. Motivation of research, dependent and independent variables, and hypotheses
a. State what the motivation of the research (either description, identification of relationship/difference, or explanation [inferring cause and effect]) probably is for each research question.
b. For each question that involves either the second or third motivation, identify the dependent variable, the independent variable(s) and write an alternative directional hypothesis for the study.
[Hint: Think about which variable probably occurs or varies or changes first and which variable probably follows.]
[Remember: if the study involves a motivation to describe a variable, part b. is irrelevant.]

1. What was the U.S. consumer savings rate in 2002, 2007, 2010, and 2013?

The motivation is to establish the level of consumers rate of savings over the years stated above. There is no additional motivation. In addition there are no variables (both independent and dependent) stated in this study.

2. Do self-esteem rating scales differ between teenagers who live in two-parent households versus those who live in single-parent households?

The motivation is to establish whether there is a difference between the level of self-esteem for teenagers who live in two-parent households and those who live in a single-parent household. The dependent variable is self-esteem while independent variables are single-parent households and two-parent households. The additional objective is to compare the level of self-esteem between the two.

Directional hypothesis: Teenagers who live in two-parent households have a higher level of motivation than those who live in single-parent households.

3. What is the effect of attending a peer nutrition counseling program on college students’ knowledge of healthy food three months later?

The motivation is to understand the level of knowledge of healthy nutrition that college students would gain as a result of attending peer nutrition counseling program after a period of three months. The independent variable is attending the peer nutrition counselling program while the dependent variable is the level of knowledge of healthy food.

Directional hypothesis: College students who attend peer nutrition counselling program show a higher level of knowledge of healthy food within three months than those who do not.
4. Holding constant husbands’ wage rates, is there an effect of wives’ wage rates on their husbands’ time allocation to household works?

The objective is to establish the relationship between the wage rates of wives and the time that their husbands allocate to household works. The independent variable is wives wage rates while the dependent variable is the husband’s time allocation to household works.

Directional hypothesis: Husbands whose wives have high wage rates allocate more time to household chores than those whose wives have low wage rates.

5. Are California counties’ unemployment rates associated with California counties’ rates of substandard (“low quality”) housing among female headed households?

The motivation is to establish whether there is a relationship between the rate of unemployment in California and female headed households which are substandard. The dependent variable (unemployment rate) is as a result of interaction of two independent factors (substandard housing and being headed by females.

Directional hypothesis: Households with substandard housing and headed by females contribute more to California’s unemployment rate than those headed by females with high quality housing.

6. What is the proportion of U.S. households who have used online banking services?

The motivation is to establish the number of households, out of entire households in the U.S, who have used online banking services. There are no variables in this study.

7. What is the effect of a change in the price of organic milk on the quantity demanded of organic milk by American consumers?

The motivation is to establish the nature of relationship between change in price of organic milk and change in the level of quantity demanded among American consumers. The dependent variable is quantity demanded while the independent variable is price of the organic milk. The level of price of organic milk determines the quantity demanded of the same.

Directional hypothesis: Increase in price of organic milk leads to a decrease in the quantity demanded.

8. Is the effect of organic milk price change on the quantity demanded of organic milk the same for consumers of different ethnicities (Caucasian-Americans, African-Americans, and Asian Americans)? (Hint: how many I.V.s are there?)

The motivation of this study is to compare the effects price change of organic milk causes on quantity demanded over different ethnicities. There are two independent variables and one dependent variable. The dependent variable is the level of quantity demanded of organic milk while the independent variables are price levels and the different ethnicities. Both ethnicity and price levels affect the level of organic milk demanded.

Directional hypothesis: Causian-Americans buy less commodity of organic milk when the price is increased than both African and Asian-Americans.

II. Practice with hypothesis: Mark the letter of the correct answer on the left.
1. Which of the following is a null hypothesis?
A. There is a statistically significant difference in loan rejection rates of white males, white females, African-American males, and African-American females.
B. Loan approvals are dependent upon applicants’ gender.
C. There is no relationship between applicants’ race and gender and the rate at which their loan applications are approved.
D. Bank lending practices are discriminatory in terms of race and gender.
E. All of the above.

2. What is an example of an alternate one-tailed (or directional) hypothesis?
A. There is a statistically significant relationship between college students’ opportunity cost of time and their grade point average.
B. Students who have higher opportunity const of time have lower grade point average than those who have a lower opportunity cost of time.
C. The opportunity cost of students’ time is related to their grades.
D. There is no statistically significant difference in the opportunity cost of time of student with different grade point of average.
E. None of the above.

3. Which of the following is a hypothesis of an interaction effect of two independent variables?
A. Married males have the highest rates of obesity, followed proportionately by single males, married females, and single females.
B. Males have higher rates of obesity than do females.
C. Married males have the highest rates of obesity, followed successively by married females, single females, and single males.
D. Single people have higher rates of obesity than married people.
E. None of the above.

4. Which of these is a hypothesis with a curvilinear effect of one variable on another?
A. There is a positive relationship between consumers’ age and their willingness to shop online up until age 40; after that age, there is no relationship between consumers’ age and willingness to shop online.
B. As the price of gasoline decreases, the quantity of gasoline demanded increases proportionately (that is, for a one unit decrease in one, there is a one unit increase in the other).
C. Individuals become more risk averse with each successive year of age.
D. There is a positive relationship between children’s time horizon and their likelihood of saving any money from their allowances.
E. None of the above.

5. What is true about this hypothesis: controlling for their attitudes toward debt, individuals who are more knowledgeable about credit have lower levels of debt.
A. This is a hypothesis of an interaction effect.
B. Respondents’ attitude towards debt is the dependent variable.
C. The control variable (or covariate) is level of debt.
D. The independent variable is knowledge about credit.
E. All of the above.

III. Process of arriving at a research question and hypothesis
What is wrong with all of the following purpose statements?
1. The purpose of my study is to analyze retirement in the U.S.

There is no motivation and dependent variable.

2. I will study single-parent families in the U.S.
3.
There is no defined objective/motivation of the study i.e. what to study about single-parent families.
4. My purpose in doing this research is to investigate consumers’ knowledge about nutrition.

There is no dependent variable stated i.e. the resulting variable after interaction of consumers knowledge and nutrition.

5. The purpose of this research is to study nutrition and cancer.

There is no defined objective / motivation to this study.

6. The purpose of this research is to study families’ finances.

There are no variables in this statement. In addition the objective is not clear.
7. I will study functional food.

There is no objective and variables.

8. The purpose of this research is to study parents’ marital satisfaction and children’s wellbeing.

There is no clear relationship stated between marital satisfaction and children`s well- being, which leads to lack of clear objective of the study.

9. This research will focus on green design.

There is no objective and variables to the study.

10. The purpose of this study is to investigate childhood obesity.

The statement does not have an objective / motivation of the study.

Select one of those purpose statements and improve it.

I selected number 7 on the list above.

a). First, write a more specific purpose statement

The purpose of the study is to establish the relationship between parent’s marital satisfaction and their children’s well-being.

b). Next, write a research question with at least one independent and one dependent variable.

How does marital satisfaction affect provision of basic needs to children?

c). Then, write a null hypothesis for your new research question.
Parents who derive marital satisfaction from their marriage are able to meet all their children`s needs.

d). Finally, write an alternative directional (one-tailed, preferred) or non-directional hypothesis for your new research question. [At this point, this dose not have to be “justified;” just be sure to state a relationship and/or a direction of the relationship that seem plausible.]

Children brought up by parents with marital satisfaction are healthier than those whose parents do not derive marital satisfaction from their marriage.

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