PSY2: Research Methods – Lesson 29

Are Results Significant?

PSY2 RM Powerpoint

Teachers or students who want the original PPT please tweet @psychopepper

Learning Objectives

  • To KNOW and UNDERSTAND what the important terms are when trying to decide if results are significant.
  • To KNOW and UNDERSTAND how to conduct a sign test
  • To ANALYSE the data collected in the happiness experiment in order to judge if the results are significant.
  • To APPLY this knowledge to past exam questions.

Lesson Outline:


  1. Draw the decision table for stats test from memory.
  2. Go over and take notes if necessary on the key terms of one tail hypotheses, two tail hypotheses calculated values and critical values.
  3. Work through a model set of data on confidence in maths taking step by step notes on finding a critical value and comparing it to a calculated valid.
  4. Take down model answer to are the results significant.
  5. Apply the steps to find the critical value for your happiness experiment and state if results are significant.
  6. Reflect on what happens to a critical value table if the study has more people, chooses a one tailed hypothesis or a higher significance.
  7. Answer the questions: How confident are you that you did not make a type 1 error? How confident are you that you did not make a type 2 error?
  8. Take notes on what a contingency table is and how you calculate df for a chi squared.
  9. Completed chi squared questions.

Content Recap:

One Tail: These are just directional hypothesis, it means when looking at the maths you are only considering one of the “tails”.

Two Tail: These are just non-directional hypothesis, it mean when looking at the maths you are considering both of the “tails”

Calculated Value: The value that you calculate based on your own data collection. For example S=2. For the sign test you may have to calculate the value of S. For the other stats test you will be given a calculated value.

Critical Value: The value that you look up and depends on your degrees of freedom (n) and significance level set. The more people the easier the number is to reach, the lower the significance the easier the number is to reach. It is your bar.

If you would like to access PsychoPepper’s Glossary of Terms please click here

Study Notes (TBC):

If you would like to download a set of study notes for this lesson, you can do so here. If you would like access to the original word file please tweet @psychopepper


I would suggest that you have a copy of one of the textbooks which will allow you to read around the subject matter, pre-read ahead of lessons or even take extra notes/practise questions afterwards. I would recommend the following (you do not need to replicate books, one of each type is plenty!)

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