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Statistics in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition by Sarah Boslaugh

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Chapter 16. Educational and Psychological Statistics

Many statistical techniques used in education and psychology are common to other fields of endeavor: these include the t-test (covered in Chapter 6), various regression and ANOVA models (covered in Chapters 8 through 11), and the chi-square test (covered in Chapter 5). The discussion of measurement in Chapter 1 will also prove useful because much of educational and psychological research involves constructs that cannot be observed directly and have no obvious units of measurement. Examples of such constructs include mechanical aptitude, self-efficacy, and resistance to change. This chapter concentrates on statistical procedures used in the field of psychometrics, which is concerned with the creation, validation, and use of tests and measurements applied to human intelligence, knowledge, abilities, and psychological characteristics such as personality traits.

The first question you may ask with regard to the use of statistics in education and psychology is why they are necessary at all. After all, isn’t every person an individual, and isn’t the point of both education and psychology to perceive each person in all his individual richness, not to reduce the individual to a set of numbers or place him in comparison with others?

This is a valid concern and underscores what anyone working in the human sciences knows already: doing research on human beings is in many ways much more difficult than doing research in the hard sciences or ...

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