Published on
March 1, 2021
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
July 21, 2022.

A control variable is anything that is held constant or limited in a research study. It’s a variable that is not of interest to the study’s aims, but is controlled because it could influence the outcomes.

Variables may be controlled directly by holding them constant throughout a study (e.g., by controlling the room temperature in an experiment), or they may be controlled indirectly through methods like randomization or statistical control (e.g., to account for participant characteristics like age in statistical tests).

Examples of control variables

Research question

Control variables

Does soil quality affect plant growth?

Temperature

Amount of light

Amount of water

Does caffeine improve memory recall?

Participant age

Noise in the environment

Type of memory test

Do people with a fear of spiders perceive spider images faster than other people?

Published on
March 1, 2021
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
July 21, 2022.

A mediating variable (or mediator) explains the process through which two variables are related, while a moderating variable (or moderator) affects the strength and direction of that relationship.

Including mediators and moderators in your research helps you go beyond studying a simple relationship between two variables for a fuller picture of the real world. These variables are important to consider when studying complex correlational or causal relationships between variables.

Published on
February 16, 2021
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
July 6, 2022.

Statistical power, or sensitivity, is the likelihood of a significance test detecting an effect when there actually is one.

A true effect is a real, non-zero relationship between variables in a population. An effect is usually indicated by a real difference between groups or a correlation between variables.

High power in a study indicates a large chance of a test detecting a true effect. Low power means that your test only has a small chance of detecting a true effect or that the results are likely to be distorted by random and systematic error.

Power is mainly influenced by sample size, effect size, and significance level. A power analysis can be used to determine the necessary sample size for a study.

Published on
February 5, 2021
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
February 17, 2022.

The methods section of an APA style paper is where you report in detail how you performed your study. Research papers in the social and natural sciences often follow APA style. This article focuses on reporting quantitative research methods.

In your APA methods section, you should report enough information to understand and replicate your study, including detailed information on the sample, measures, and procedures used.

Published on
January 18, 2021
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
July 6, 2022.

In statistics, a Type I error is a false positive conclusion, while a Type II error is a false negative conclusion.

Making a statistical decision always involves uncertainties, so the risks of making these errors are unavoidable in hypothesis testing.

The probability of making a Type I error is the significance level, or alpha (α), while the probability of making a Type II error is beta (β). These risks can be minimized through careful planning in your study design.

Published on
January 7, 2021
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
May 6, 2022.

If a result is statistically significant, that means it’s unlikely to be explained solely by chance or random factors. In other words, a statistically significant result has a very low chance of occurring if there were no true effect in a research study.

The p value, or probability value, tells you the statistical significance of a finding. In most studies, a p value of 0.05 or less is considered statistically significant, but this threshold can also be set higher or lower.

Published on
December 22, 2020
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
June 1, 2022.

Effect size tells you how meaningful the relationship between variables or the difference between groups is. It indicates the practical significance of a research outcome.

A large effect size means that a research finding has practical significance, while a small effect size indicates limited practical applications.

Published on
December 21, 2020
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
July 9, 2022.

The results section of a quantitative research paper is where you summarize your data and report the findings of any relevant statistical analyses.

The APA manual provides rigorous guidelines for what to report in quantitative research papers in the fields of psychology, education, and other social sciences.

Use these standards to answer your research questions and report your data analyses in a complete and transparent way.

Published on
December 11, 2020
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
July 6, 2022.

The standard error of the mean, or simply standard error, indicates how different the population mean is likely to be from a sample mean. It tells you how much the sample mean would vary if you were to repeat a study using new samples from within a single population.

The standard error of the mean (SE or SEM) is the most commonly reported type of standard error. But you can also find the standard error for other statistics, like medians or proportions. The standard error is a common measure of sampling error—the difference between a population parameter and a sample statistic.

Published on
November 27, 2020
by
Pritha Bhandari.
Revised on
July 6, 2022.

A parameter is a number describing a whole population (e.g., population mean), while a statistic is a number describing a sample (e.g., sample mean).

The goal of quantitative research is to understand characteristics of populations by finding parameters. In practice, it’s often too difficult, time-consuming or unfeasible to collect data from every member of a population. Instead, data is collected from samples.

With inferential statistics, we can use sample statistics to make educated guesses about population parameters.