Project #160445 - research design

Science Tutors

Subject Science
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/14/2016 12:00 am

For this last discussion, let's discuss the portion of research papers that many skip over: the Results.  Let's tackle some basic concepts that appear repeatedly in Results sections that you can understand the basics.  After you take statistics, you will have a greater understanding of the Results section.

Here are some basic terms and abbreviations that you may see in Results. 


  • N or n :  The capital or little "n" stands for "number" and is seen in reference to the number of participants in a study.  The capital N is used to denote the full sample size and the small n denotes a portion of the sample. For example, you may see:  The participants (N = 500) completed an anonymous survey.   OR   The participants were separated into an experimental (n = 50) and control (n = 50) group
  • p :  "p" represents the probability that you calculated based on your sample data was accurate and not by chance.  This is where you look for the statistical significance of the analysis.  A p value with an alpha that is LESS than .05, p< .05 , is significant. This means that the analysis is more than 95% accurate and only 5% or less likely to have been from chance. 
  • M  : This represents the mean. The mean is the average. This is calculated by adding the variable's values together and then dividing it by the number of cases occuring in the variable. An example of the mean:  There are 6 children who participated in the study. Their ages are as follows: 5,4,6,3,7,3  To find the mean, add these numbers together and divide by 6, the number of children. 28/6 = 4.67. Thus, the mean age of participants is 4.67.
  • SD:  This represents the standard deviation. The sd tells you how far apart the numbers are from the mean.  


For additional symbol "look-up", please take a look at this APA blog: .


Copy and paste a small portion of the results from one of your favorite research articles. Can you interpret it for us? Are there things you do not  understand? The purpose of this task is not to demonstrate proficiency, as you have not yet learned all of these concepts.  The purpose is to identify areas that need clarifications and for us, as a class, to discuss these and make sense of them so that moving forward you can understand results a little better.

Use this as an opportunity to further your understanding of your readings!


  • This week you must make a minimum of four substantive contributions on two separate days of the learning week.


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