Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
From a Research Project to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types
A doctoral candidate is planning her dissertation and, although she has completed four required research courses, she is unsure of which statistical tests to use. She fears exposing her ignorance by asking one of her instructors but is equally fearful of making a mistake if she chooses statistical tests without some expert guidance. Fortunately, there is a research lab staffed by statistics majors where she can inquire about the appropriate statistical test. However, their rule is that they are not permitted to simply tell students what to use; the student has to arrive with some possibilities in mind and, even this causes her to procrastinate about using the university’s support services. As this situation illustrates, one of the biggest challenges is “what to use when” to analyze the data. Particularly for inexperienced researchers, determining the correct statistical tests to use with a data set can be confusing. A basic concept in quantitative research in parsimony; this means that it is appropriate to select, not the most elaborate or mathematically sophisticated analysis, but the simplest one that matches the data set. While it is common to ask for second, third or more opinions about this, it also is helpful to use a decision tree or chart first.
When planning your quantitative study, try using the decision tree from Muhlenberg College posted at: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/pdf/main/academics/psychology/stats_decision.pdf.
Since the use of a statistical test depends on the nature of the data, this selection needs to be explained and justified. Fortunately, there are many online tools that follow help with selecting the appropriate statistical tests and support you in justifying your decision.
The Institute for Digital Research and Education provides a very helpful chart that answers the question, What statistical analysis should I use with these data? http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/mult_pkg/whatstat/.
Some researchers gather more data than they need. For their statistical analyses (e.g., analyses of variance, factor analyses, regression analyses), the focus is on data that relate to their research questions or hypotheses. The statistical analyses that are used to analyze are described and justified in detail to inform other researchers and an informative way to assist researchers to understand their research. The analyses and report of the results focus on the research questions/hypotheses and lead to the conclusions that emanate from the research (American Educational Research Association, 2006).
This YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rulIUAN0U3w from the Statistics Learning Centre, watch “Choosing Which Statistical Test to Use—Statistics Help” guides you through the seven most commonly used methods of quantitative analysis. There are others in the series as well.