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Learning Objectives...
Instructor:          Jeremy Jackson   |    Winter, 2018

Office:                NW 3431    |   New Westminster
Sir Ken Robinson: "Learning happens in minds and souls, not in the databases of multiple-choice tests"

Essay Questions

1) Discuss the concept of isolation as it applies to inferring causation. Explain the sense in which the IV is isolated in an experiment. Be sure to discuss the concepts of random assignment, subject variables and confounding variables. Discuss what the rejection of the null hypothesis justifies one in concluding about what has been found in the experimental context.

2) Give the logic of hypothesis testing. State the steps and give the technical name of each step. Give YOUR OWN real world example of the logic and associate the example with each step of the logic.

3) Discuss the difference between hypothesis testing, data analysis and estimation. Give examples of cases in which each one would be relevant but the others would be less important/relevant.

4) What is meant by the validity of a scale? Discuss how this is determined/judged in modern psychology. Be sure to include in your answer the concepts of construct validity, discriminant validity, convergent validity and face validity. Distinguish these forms of validity from content validity.

5) What is replication and why is it important to science? Contrast replication with hypothesis testing and show that they are different scientific procedure with different purposes. Give an example of replication and in the example, show how replication may produce conclusions that are fundamentally different to hypothesis testing.

6) Describe the forms of imputation you learned about in class. Name, define and describe each one and give your own example of how they might be used.

7) What is PCA? What is it for and how can the results of a PCA be used in further analyses? Describe indices of PCA model fit and how one might select a minimum number of components. Also, discuss issues relating to the rotation of components. Include drawings to support your descriptions.

8) What is a residual? Why are residuals important? What do they tell us about model fit? Give an example of an analysis in which you might wish to look carefully at a set of residuals and include in the example an illustration of a case in which a large residual would influence the analysis.

9) What are subject and variable space? What does closeness in variable space tell us about subjects and what does closeness in subject space tell us about variables. Give your own simple examples to illustrate your answers.

10) List and describe the various stages of a data analysis in the case of a 2x3 between subjects experiment. Discuss what should be done at each stage and the kinds of results you should produce at each stage. Imagine the data for your experiment comes from 100 subjects and must be entered by hand into either Excel or SPSS. Imagine also that you have collected three demographic variables and there is one DV that is a sum of scores obtained on a 10 item scale that has not previously been validated in your sample of subjects. Use your own example of the IV's and demographic variables.


Essay Question Grading Scheme


All SA questions are marked out of 10. They constitute approximately 50% of your final exam grade so they are very important. The purpose of the SA question component of tests is to:

1) Encourage thinking about and reflection upon very important issues in surveying.

2) Develop writing skills.

3) Provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate knowledge of an issue and ability to communicate knowledge of that issue in an open form without the usual constraints of forced choice question formats.

All SA questions are given in advance in the "Learning Objectives" document. All questions are answered in detail in class. Students are welcome to write answers in advance of the test and show those answers to the instructor (in office hours, not by email) for feedback.

You may bring in to the test 1 page of paper with anything you would like written on it (both sides). It is very strongly recommended that you write notes for your SA question answers on this page in advance of the test.

General grading considerations:

The answers students give vary a great deal. The best answers:

1) Are written in advance of the test.

2) Are written properly with good sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and spelling.

3) Are clear and direct answers to the question. It is important to remember that we are not assessing general knowledge of concepts here. You will not get marks for knowing things that are unrelated to the question itself.

4) Contain correct definitions of the concepts directly relevant to the question.

5) Are supported with explanations that employ appropriate examples and/or illustrations.

6) Demonstrate real effort.


Grading Scheme by mark out of 10:

10/10: The answer is clearly superb. It is well written, well researched, has excellent logical flow, shows a command of the subject, gives a complete answer to the question and is technically correct. A student that gets 10/10 also uses interesting examples and explanations that show a command of the issue. 10/10 is not common. However, good students often do this kind of work.

9/10: This kind of answer looks superficially similar to a 10/10 but there is one major component missing. For instance, there may be some small factual errors in the answer, the answer might lack a clear logical flow, or the answer might be written with relatively poor grammar, punctuation and spelling. Typically, 9/10 answers lack the "interesting examples and explanations" component as well. However, 9/10 answers are well done, complete and mostly correct. 9/10 answers are given reasonably often by students.

8/10: This is a good answer, it is complete, it answers the question correctly, and it is written reasonably well. But there are 2 or 3 components of the answer that could be significantly better. There may be some obvious factual errors, poor logical flow, or a weak explanation of the issue. Typically 8/10 answers don't contain excellent examples and/or illustrations. 8/10 is a very common grade. Any student that takes the question seriously and spends a reasonable amount of time on their answer will get 8/10 or more.

7/10: This is a sort of in between grade. The answer is not seriously lacking in a number of different areas but it can't make an 8/10. Perhaps the answer indicates a lack of effort, or contains poor or inappropriate examples, and is not particularly well researched. The answer is better than a basic pass but it needs to be more detailed and indicate more preparation and effort. I think of 7/10 as an effort indicator. 7/10 answers tend to look like the effort is not what it could have been. 7/10 is about as common as 8/10.

6/10: We are now getting to the point at which it's hard to identify any real merits of the answer. Most of the necessary components are lacking in some way. The logical flow is poor, effort is low, there are factual errors, and the student does not show much interest in answering the question well. Despite this, the question has been addressed and an answer that is minimally complete has been given. Some students get 6/10 but it's not too common.

5/10: An attempt is made but it's clear that more work is needed. Perhaps the student should write their answer in advance and show it to me for input before giving the answer on a test. At this level we need to do something right away to ensure that SA question answers are improved. 5/10 is unusual.

4/10 or lower: Either the student is clearly not trying and the answer reflects this or the answer to the question is incorrect. If the answer is sloppy, poorly written and appears "last minute" this shows a lack of effort and disinterest in answering the question properly. This does not happen much but when it does, grades of 4 or lower are used to communicate this to the student. If you receive such a grade, you need to address the problem right away. Come and see me in office hours so we can be sure this does not happen again. If the answer is factually incorrect, but written well, 4/10 or lower will be given. If the answer is factually incorrect and poorly written, expect 0/10.


Before coming to the test, make sure your answers to SA questions:

1) Contain correct definitions of the relevant concepts.

2) Contain your own examples and our illustration to support your explanation.

3) Teach the reader the answer to the question, not just list off relevant facts.

4) Have good logical flow.

5) Are not sloppy with obvious grammar and spelling mistakes.

PS. On a more subjective note...I'm really looking for you to take pride in your work. Many students do this and it is a joy to give those students 10/10 (by the way, I will give 11/10 on occasion if I feel the answer is well above the others in the class). It makes me very happy to see you doing excellent work and I am willing to help you do whatever you need to do that. So just ask if you have questions or come and see me if you would like to improve your work.


All content copyright of Dr Jeremy Jackson - 2014. Douglas College, Vancouver, BC.