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Cultural Approaches to Normality

ABSTRACT Cultural approaches to normality mean that what is defined as ‘abnormal’ depends on expectations and standards of society, and thus on political, economic and social factors. Expectations and standards What is normal in terms of the simple act of waiting for a bus? In the…

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Medical Approaches to Normality

ABSTRACT Medical approaches to normality stress the idea of uniformity of physical and psychological functioning across individuals. Limitations and disability How did you define ‘normal’ eyesight? (see Definitions of Normality) The ability to see clearly without eye glasses? It is unlikely that you wrote down short-…

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Statistical Approaches to Normality

ABSTRACT Statistical approaches to ‘normality’ define it in terms of a normal distribution curve, with the so called ‘normal zone’ accounting for 68 percent of all the data. Statistical frequency What did you base your idea of ‘normal’ height on? (see Definitions of Normality). It might…

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Reactive Effect

ABSTRACT The reactive effect refers to the effect that a researcher or assessor has on that which he or she is trying to study: subjects behave less naturally due to the fact that they are being studied. Reactivity People’s knowledge of the fact that they are…

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Is It Significant?

ABSTRACT Effective technical writing requires precision in the use of terminology. The word ‘significant’ is frequently misused as meaning only ‘important’ or ‘noteworthy’. This article demonstrates how the term should properly be used to indicate ‘statistical significance’. The process of hypothesis testing is necessary in order to determine…

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Research Styles

ABSTRACT Several social scientific research methods are used to investigate speech, language and human communication. There are three principal approaches: (1) experiments, (2) surveys, and (3) ethnography. This article sets out the strengths and weaknesses of each and provides a glossary of common terms. Social scientific research Social…

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Hypothesis Testing

ABSTRACT Hypothesis testing involves formulating statements about relationships between two or more variables and then stating the hypothesis of interest. A null hypothesis is used to describe what is true if the hypothesis of interest is incorrect. An appropriate statistical test is then conducted. The results are used…

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Operationalizing Variables

ABSTRACT: To remove ambiguity in written work and research, all relevant variables must be defined. This is known as operationalizing variables. To operationalize a variable or concept means to define it so that it can be measured and/or expressed quantitatively or qualitatively. Operationalize your variables!…

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