Caitlin O'Connor

Caitlin O'Connor

Psychology/College of Social and Behavioral Science

2012-2013

Mastering Basic Statistics: An Online Resource for Students

Faculty Mentor: Monica Tsethlikai - Psychology/College of Social and Behavioral Science

 

Psychology Statistics (PSY3000) is one of the most difficult courses in the psychology department. Students find it confusing, difficult to grasp and many often fail the course on their first attempt. I have been a teaching assistant for this course for three semesters and after having seen most students struggle with the material, I wanted to find a way to help students in my department universally master basic statistics concepts and hopefully improve the passing rate of the course. Additionally, the same professor does not always teach this course. Different professors tend to cover different concepts and often use different methods, which leave students with varying knowledge and levels of mastery when they enter the next sequential course – research methods. It has become evident that many other disciplines across campus have a similar issue with the difficulty of statistics courses, or a lack of the necessary statistics courses. Thus, this project serves to benefit students campus-wide.
For this project, I am creating and posting online tutorials for learning basic statistical methods. The online student resource will outline the basic steps of conducting statistical analyses by hand with example problem videos produced on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Statistical tests to be covered include: hypothesis testing, z-tests, t-tests (one sample, independent, and dependent), one and two-way ANOVA, chi square, regression, and correlation. Additionally, the site will contain analysis procedures using the statistical software ‐ SPSS. The online tutorials will be posted on the psychology department website and will be available to any university student. To aid in successful teaching of this course, there will also be a section with successful teaching tips for professors who teach this course. For example, professors will be able to access succinct information about empirically validated methods and strategies for successfully teaching statistics to college students.

 

This project will benefit students both while they are enrolled in a statistics course and as a review once they enter research methods and are expected to utilize their statistics knowledge and SPSS. It will also be useful for students who take statistics but are not taught SPSS as well. It will provide them with concept reviews, example problems, SPSS application procedures and study strategies. I have partnered with the professors in my department who usually teach this course and will include them in the progress of the project so that they can let students know of its existence and importance. I will assess if this goal has been met by soliciting qualitative feedback from professors and students about the online tutorials. I will also use the course-passing rate as a quantitative measure of the site’s usefulness. By creating these tutorials online, they will serve as a resource for both undergraduates and graduate students in my department and across the university campus.

 

Caitlin O'Connor Poster