Tutor profile: Dian S.
Subject: Natural Sciences
How do I know which statistical test I need to use?
To determine which statistical test to use in the analysis of your data you need to first consider your sample size and how your data are distributed. First check what kind of distribution your data have. The sample size of your data, the distribution of the data and your research question (e.g. are you comparing two groups or are you looking for a relationship between variables) will influence which statistical test you need to use.
Subject: Environmental Science
How do I develop a questionnaire for my research project?
First you need to decide on the focus of your research. What is your research question? This question needs to be specific to the target group that you will be questioning. You then need to decide on the sub-questions of this main question. You also need to look at the literature to see what other studies have been done elsewhere asking similar questions. Look at what the findings of these studies were and their areas of enquiry. This will help you establish what kinds of information you want to or expect to obtain. You then need to decide which questions you want to make open ended i.e. you will ask a general question and see what the different answers are. For some questions you might want to go through a list of items with each person e.g. a list of reasons for doing something (e.g. a list of possible reasons for saving water, this would be influenced by findings from other research) or a list of actions that people take (e.g. a list of water conservation approaches, which would be influenced by other research). Once you have an idea of your questions you need to make sure that they are in a logical order, that they are understandable and that there isn't too much overlap between questions. You can then practice your questions with someone to see if they make sense and can be answered by someone else.
How do I write the methods and discussion sections for my research paper?
The methods section of your research paper needs to outline exactly what you did, in the order that you did it. It needs to read like a recipe and provide enough information so that somebody else could repeat the research. The information included in the methods should include what sampling approach you used and why, how you went about collecting the data and what analyses you conducted. The methods should also indicate how each of your research questions was answered. For example, you should have text that reads something like: To establish xyz, abc was done. The discussion section needs to include what is interesting about your findings and how these findings relate to what is already known in the literature. For example, the discussion should state how the findings are similar or different to what is known from other studies and why this is the case. It outlines whether the results are what would be expected or not. Importantly, the discussion can include comparison to both literature with both similar and different findings. You shouldn't only include literature that supports the points that you are trying to make but you should also include contradicting literature if there is any to show that you are aware of this as well.
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