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Interpret and create simple APA-style graphs—including bar graphs, line graphs, and scatterplots. Interpret and create simple APA-style tables—including tables of group or condition means and correlation matrixes.
Once you have conducted your descriptive statistical analyses, you will need to present them to others.
In this section, we focus on presenting descriptive statistical results in writing, in graphs, and in tables—following American Psychological Association APA guidelines for written research reports. These principles can be adapted easily to other presentation formats such as posters and slide show presentations.
Presenting Descriptive Statistics in Writing When you have a small number of results to report, it is often most efficient to write them out. There are a few important APA style guidelines here.
First, statistical results are always presented in the form of numerals rather than words and are usually rounded to two decimal places e.
They can be presented either in the narrative description of the results or parenthetically—much like reference citations. Here are some examples: The mean age of the participants was The treatment group had a mean of The test-retest correlation was.
Notice that when presented in the narrative, the terms mean and standard deviation are written out, but when presented parenthetically, the symbols M and SD are used instead.
Notice also that it is especially important to use parallel construction to express similar or comparable results in similar ways. The third example is much better than the following nonparallel alternative: Presenting Descriptive Statistics in Graphs When you have a large number of results to report, you can often do it more clearly and efficiently with a graph.
When you prepare graphs for an APA-style research report, there are some general guidelines that you should keep in mind. First, the graph should always add important information rather than repeat information that already appears in the text or in a table.
If a graph presents information more clearly or efficiently, then you should keep the graph and eliminate the text or table.
Second, graphs should be as simple as possible. For example, the Publication Manual discourages the use of color unless it is absolutely necessary although color can still be an effective element in posters, slide show presentations, or textbooks. Third, graphs should be interpretable on their own.
A reader should be able to understand the basic result based only on the graph and its caption and should not have to refer to the text for an explanation.
There are also several more technical guidelines for graphs that include the following: Layout The graph should be slightly wider than it is tall.
The independent variable should be plotted on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis. Values should increase from left to right on the x-axis and from bottom to top on the y-axis. Axis Labels and Legends Axis labels should be clear and concise and include the units of measurement if they do not appear in the caption.
Axis labels should be parallel to the axis. Legends should appear within the boundaries of the graph. Text should be in the same simple font throughout and differ by no more than four points.
Captions Captions should briefly describe the figure, explain any abbreviations, and include the units of measurement if they do not appear in the axis labels.
Captions in an APA manuscript should be typed on a separate page that appears at the end of the manuscript. Bar Graphs As we have seen throughout this book, bar graphs are generally used to present and compare the mean scores for two or more groups or conditions.
The bar graph in Figure Notice that it conforms to all the guidelines listed. A new element in Figure These are error barsand they represent the variability in each group or condition. Although they sometimes extend one standard deviation in each direction, they are more likely to extend one standard error in each direction as in Figure The standard error is the standard deviation of the group divided by the square root of the sample size of the group.
The standard error is used because, in general, a difference between group means that is greater than two standard errors is statistically significant. Each point in a line graph represents the mean score on the dependent variable for participants at one level of the independent variable.
Notice that it includes error bars representing the standard error and conforms to all the stated guidelines. This emphasizes the fundamental similarity of the two types of statistical relationship.The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.
Communication, in General. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. — George Bernard Shaw.
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