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PSY 223 Short Paper

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PSY 223 Short Paper

  1. 1. 1 PSY 223 Short Paper In statistical analysis, the measurements classified as central tendencies are mean, median, and mode. Mean measures the average, median indicates the number that falls in the middle when the data is in order from lowest to highest value, and mode indicates which value shows up most often. Each tendency has its strength depending on the situation. If your data set contains outliers or is composed of categories, you’ll want to use mode. However, if you are seeking the average for a large group of data, then mean is the way to go. Researchers must make the same decisions when collecting data and presenting studies. How can we best explain this to the public? How can we take all these numbers and help them make sense? This is exactly what Jan Fuhse and Sophie Mützel sought to answer in their 2011 study, “Tackling connections, structure, and meaning in networks: quantitative and qualitative methods in sociological network research” (Fuhse & Mützel, 2011). Noticing that there was s distinct lack of quality data for sociological research, they set out to combine quantitative statistical analysis with qualitative descriptions. Statistical measures allow sociologists such as Fuhse and Mützel to look at patterns in current social structures and find the embedded correlations. In their paper, Fuhse and Mützel cite various studies where qualitative and quantitative data have been coupled together in order to explain data for patterns in society. In one study, researchers Bearman and Parigi, analyze what conversations married couples tend to have with their friends and what topics are most often covered. They were most concerned with the differences in what men and women choose to discuss.
  2. 2. 2 “For this, the answers to the second, open question were coded into nine domains of topics from general news and political issues to relationships and religion, thus quantifying the qualitative results. Most importantly, Bearman and Parigi’s analysis shows a number of gender effects: married women (try to) talk about relationships with their husbands while their hus- bands talk about relationships with their friends. Similarly, married men report (mono- logue?) conversations about ideological issues with their wives, the latter whom report talking about ideological issues with their acquaintances. (2004, p. 544) “ -Fuhse & Mützel, 2011 The central tendency used by these researchers is the mode. At first, the use of qualitative descriptions mixed with statistical analysis made it more difficult to recognize which tendency was being used. However, once I realized that the researchers were focusing on a) categories and b) the values that showed up most often, I understood that they must have been utilizing mode.
  3. 3. 3 References Aron, A., Coups, E., & Aron, E. (2013). Statistics for Psychology (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearsons Education. Fuhse, J., & Mützel, S. (2011). Tackling connections, structure, and meaning in networks: Quantitative and qualitative methods in sociological network research. Quality and Quantity, 45(5), 1067-1089. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11135-011-9492- 3

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