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Descriptive Statistics

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Assignment 1 – Introduction to Descriptive Statistics

Worth 50 points

By the end of this assignment, you will demonstrate that you can

  • Differentiate types of variables
  • Develop a general hypothesis based upon other research knowledge
  • Calculate three measures of central tendency
  • Calculate three measures of dispersion (i.e., variability)
  • Create a frequency table and format in APA style
  • Create a scatterplot in SPSS and identify trends in the data
  • Interpret results in written form using APA formatting

In order to meet the aforementioned learning objectives, this is a multipart assignment.

Step 1: Complete the pre-course survey (due Day 2 of class by 11:59pm MST) available via Blackboard. Very important! Please complete this course survey before you proceed through the remainder of this assignment. You will upload a screenshot of the final page of the survey to earn points for submitting by the deadline. (5 points)

Step 2: Recently, the Huffington Post published an article outlining a set of habits that contribute to greater stress among millennials. Read this article before you proceed:

Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the survey materials, understand the variables, form your initial hypotheses, and plan your analyses.  The survey is available as an addendum to this document.  Again, please don’t look at the survey until you’ve taken it via Blackboard. This will decrease the likelihood that your responses will be biased.

Once you have reviewed the survey, answer the following questions:

  • Which variables are categorical (either nominal or ordinal)? (2.5 points)
  • Which variables are continuous (either ratio or interval)? (2.5 points)
  • In 2-3 sentences, please explain the ranges of possible scores on the individual subscales? In other words, what are the lowest versus highest possible scores on the social media usage scale, anxiety/dependency scale, and the insomnia severity scale? (5 points)
  • In 1-2 sentences, what hypotheses (or guesses) do you have about the results? For example, do you think people will be closely related in age? Will there be more men than women in course? Will the average social media usage be low or high in this course? Will people in this course suffer from low or high levels of insomnia? Remember to include what informs your decision-making process (i.e., why do you think this?) (5 points)

Step 4: Download the dataset for the class data to the pre-course survey (available after 11:59pm EST on Day 3 of the course). You may download your as an Excel spreadsheet and this file can be converted to an SPSS compatible file (.csv) to allow you to conduct your analyses in SPSS.

Step 5: Familiarize yourself with the data set and prepare (i.e., clean) your data for analysis.

Within SPSS or Excel, calculate total scores for the separate subscales. These will serve as your new variables when calculating measures of central tendency and score dispersion.

  • Next, calculate measures of central tendency and dispersion appropriate for each type of variable (e.g., the mode is an appropriate measure of central tendency for a categorical variable whereas the mean is interpretable for a continuous variable). Do this for each of your variables. Do these values make intuitive sense? This is meant as a checks and balance system in case there are any ridiculous high or low values. Hint: this is also why in Step 3 you were asked to calculate “possible” values for each of the measures because there are some values that could (due to input error) be inaccurate/impossible. List out your descriptive results by variable below: (6 points)

Step 6: Create a frequency table to display results of employment and marital status data. Format your tables using APA style (refer to the APA style guide and your textbook for how to format tables appropriately). Include your tables below (6 points)

Step 7: Create a scatterplot in SPSS to compare “general social media usage” and “insomnia.” Watch this video for support in creating your scatterplot in SPSS:

Copy/paste your scatterplot from SPSS into your submission document and write in one complete sentence what trends you see visually in the data. (6 points)

Step 8: Taking into consideration the original article (step 2), your preliminary hypotheses, and the current sample characteristics, write one paragraph (3-4 sentences) reporting the findings and interpreting the results. In this paragraph, you should include the sample size, demographic information about the participants, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, and trends you noticed in the data about social media usage and insomnia. Given these findings, what interpretations can you make about this class? Be sure to include suggestions for future study (i.e., curiosities you have for follow-up study).  (12 points)

Pre-Course Survey (available via Google Forms in Blackboard, Week 1):

Demographic Section –

  1. What is your age?
  1. What is your gender?
  • Male
  • Female
  • Transgender
  1. How many college credits have you completed as of today?
  1. What is your current employment status?
  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Unemployed
  1. What is your marital status?
  • Single/Unmarried
  • Partnered/Unmarried
  • Partnered/Married
  • Divorced
  • Widowed

General Social Media Usage Section –

Do you have a Facebook Account? If yes, continue with questions in this section. If no, skip to next section.

Using the scale below, how often do you do each of the following activities on social networking sites such as Facebook?

Never Once a month Several times a month Once a week Several times a week Once a day Several times a day Once an hour Several times an hour All the time
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  1. Check your Facebook page or other social networks.
  2. Check your Facebook page from your smartphone.
  3. Check Facebook at work or school.
  4. Post status updates.
  5. Post photos.
  6. Browse profiles and photos.
  7. Read postings.
  8. Comment on postings, status updates, photos, etc.
  9. Click “Like” to a posting, photo, etc.

Anxiety/Dependency Section 

Using the scale below, answer the following questions:

Strong disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5
  1. I get anxious when I don’t have my cell phone.
  2. I get anxious when I don’t have the Internet available to me.
  3. I am dependent on my technology.

Insomnia Severity Section 

For each of the following questions, please rate the severity of your insomnia problems over the past two weeks.

None Mild Moderate Severe Very severe
0 1 2 3 4
  1. Difficulty falling asleep
  2. Difficulty staying asleep
  3. Problems waking up too early
  1. Using the scale below, how satisfied/dissatisfied are you with your current sleep patterns?
Very satisfied Satisfied Moderately Satisfied Dissatisfied Very dissatisfied
0 1 2 3 4
  1. Using the scale below, how noticeable to others do you think your sleep pattern is in terms of impairing the quality of your life?
Not at all noticeable A little Somewhat Much Very much noticeable
0 1 2 3 4
  1. Using the scale below, how worried/distressed are you about your current sleep problem?
Not at all worried A little Somewhat Much Very much worried
0 1 2 3 4
  1. To what extent do you consider your sleep problem to interfere with your daily functioning (e.g., daytime fatigue, mood, ability to function at work/daily chores, concentration, memory, mood, etc.) currently?
Not at all interfering A little Somewhat Much Very much interfering
0 1 2 3 4

Survey measures were adapted from the following sources:

Insomnia severity index. Retrieved from:

Rosen, L.D., Whaling, K., Carrier, L.M., Cheever, N.A., & Rokkum, J. (2013). The media and technology usage and attitudes scale: An empirical investigation. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 2501-2511.

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