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Advanced Research Methods 1: Coursework guidelines
Assessment one of this module involves performing analyses on a data file (provided) and producing a report of the findings. The data will be located on blackboard from week two. It is advised that you read through this information before you commence any calculations in SPSS.
It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the variables involved and consider how they may differ and/or relate to each other. Read the description/question in each section and be familiar with the appropriate SPSS procedure you will need to conduct.
From week three onwards, you should be able to start working on preparing the data for analysis. As the module progresses you will be in a position to conduct further analysis.
Marks will be allocated on the basis of correct interpretation of findings and insightful and/or novel further comment (e.g. reference to implications).
Presenting the results:
Writing up the report should be completed independently. It is probable that you will have discussed the work with student colleagues however you must ensure that you are the sole author of the entire document that is submitted.
A local NHS smoking cessation clinic has conducted a study where a number of smokers have been questioned. The clinic has tasked you with analysing data and to write up a report based on findings. The data has been collected from 116 participants (including some University students) that smoke who were asked about variables related to their smoking (e.g. intention to stop smoking, health value). There are 28 variables with information about demographic factors, ratings on visual analogue scales (perceived risk, self efficacy, subjective norms and intentions to stop smoking), information on previous smoking related illnesses, health value ratings and 18 items from a reliable and valid questionnaire.
The data file has been named ‘Smoking study 2016’ and consists of:
ID – participant number
Participant Sex (Male/Female)
Age (open responses in years)
Accom – type of living accommodation (own home, family home, student accommodation)
Cignum – number of reported cigarettes per day
Illness – perceived smoking related illness ever (yes/no). This may include acute infectious illnesses that may not have been formally diagnosed as being smoking related
Ratings from Visual analogue scales (from 0-100):
Risk – perceived risk of smoking related illness/disease (higher ratings = greater perceived risk)
Intent – intentions to stop smoking in the future (the higher the score = the higher the perceived intention to stop smoking)
Selfeff – self efficacy to stop smoking (higher scores = stronger self efficacy)
Norm – subjective norms for stopping smoking (higher scores = more significance given to feelings/desires of significant others)
Feelings about own health:
Value – Health Value Scale (Lau, Hartman & Ware, 1986). Four items measured participant feelings about their own health (higher ratings = greater value attached to personal health)
MHLC1 – MHLC18 – are the 18 items from the Multidimensional health locus of control scale (MHLC) (Wallston, 1978). Each item is rated from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). Scoring details were given in week 2.
Preliminary data screening
Prior to your main analyses:
The smoking clinic has asked you to summarise demographic information for participants that were recruited to the study. This should include demographic information for participants in addition to descriptive detail for the number of reported cigarettes smoked per day. You should also provide some comment on any interesting or unexpected findings.
The clinic are interested in group differences on visual analogue scale (VAS) measures and the health value scale according to whether participants have reported they had (perceived) a smoking related illness or not.
The smoking clinic is also interested in any possible association between gender and smoking related illness as well as smoking related illness and type of participant accommodation.
Staff at the clinic have theorised that there will be effects of both age group and sex on selected measures. The clinic is interested in determining how these two factors influence subjective norms and the scales of the MHLC.
There are two parts to this section. Firstly, additional analysis should be performed on data and second, you will need to consider some key aspects of what has been found throughout the report.
The clinic has asked for your advice in performing further analysis on the study data. You are therefore free to conduct any further (possibly exploratory) statistical analysis that has (preferably) been covered on this module.
Consider what question(s) you could ask about this data, e.g. what could you explore that has not already been examined here? Maybe you could explore something using a different analytical procedure to what has been done so far?
Please present results in an appropriate format (e.g. table and a commentary citing relevant statistical information). There is scope to consider any implications or interesting/contradictory findings here.
The smoking clinic has requested that you give some consideration to some of the key findings presented (i.e. from each section). It is recommended you give some suggestions for further research and any recommendations you may have to the clinic based on what you have found (e.g. implications for smoking cessation intervention development). Do refer back to previous sections or tables/graphs in the report if necessary.
There may also be relevant links that could be made with material covered on other modules or previous studies that you know of.
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