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The Major Data Analysis Techniques Used in Leisure and Social Science Research
If you’re going to do research in the hobby or social sciences, here are the main data analysis techniques to use:
– Chi-square test. This test, signified by the symbol X2, is used to show the relationship between two dummy variables, which are variables that describe something, such as gender or age. This test is designed to show whether the relationship is significant or not, and if so, the null hypothesis of no difference will be rejected. The test is performed by looking at counts or percentages in cells of a table and comparing the actual counts with the expected count that would occur if there were no difference under the null hypothesis, such as if there were equal numbers of people from two different racial groups in a study of participation in two different leisure activities. One would expect the same number of members of different racial groups in each activity if there is no difference, but if one activity is more popular with one group and the other activity is more popular with the other group, then there would be a difference. The chi-square test involves adding the differences between the counts or percentages and the expected counts or percentages, so that the larger the total, the higher the chi-square value. In other words, this value results from the sum of the squared values of the differences.
– T test. This test consists of comparing two means to determine if the differences between them are significant, rejecting the null hypothesis of no difference and accepting the alternative hypothesis that there is a difference. For example, the test could look at the average income of people participating in different recreational activities, such as golf versus bowling, to see if there is a difference between them, which might be expected, since golf is a sport quite expensive while bowling is a relatively inexpensive sport. The test can be used either as a paired-samples test or as an independent-samples test. In the paired samples test, the means of two variables, such as two different activities for everyone in the entire sample, are compared, such as time spent on the Internet and time spent watching television . In contrast, in the independent samples test, the means of two subgroups of the sample are compared with respect to a single variable to see if there are any differences between them, such as the time teenagers and their parents spend on the Internet.
– A one-way analysis of variance or an ANOVA test. This test is used to compare more than two averages in a single test, such as comparing the averages of males and females to participate in a number of activities, such as eating out, spending time on the internet, watching television, go shopping, participate in an active sport, or go to spectator sports. The test examines whether the mean of each variable in the test is different from the overall mean, which is the alternative hypothesis, or is the same as the overall mean, which is the null hypothesis. The test not only considers the differences between the mean for the overall population and for the different subgroups, but it considers the differences that occur between the means, which is called “variance”. This variance is determined by adding the differences between the individual means and the overall mean to obtain the results thus interpreted. The higher the variance between groups, the more likely there is a significant difference between groups, while the higher the variance within groups, the less likely there is a difference significant between the groups. The F-score represents the analysis of these two variance difference measures to show the relationship between the two types of variance – the between-groups variance and the within-groups variance. In addition, consideration must be given to the number of groups and the sample size, which determine the degrees of freedom for that particular test. The result of these calculations produces an F-score, and the lower the F-score, the more likely there is to be a significant difference between the group means.
– Factorial analysis of variance. This is another ANOVA test, based on the analysis of the means of several variables, such as examining the relationship between participation in an activity and the sex and age of the participants. Indeed, this test consists of crossing the means of the different groups to determine if they are significant by comparing both the means of the groups and the degree of spread between the groups. So also in this test the degrees of freedom are taken into account with the sum of the squares to produce a mean square and then an F-score. Again, the lower the score, the greater the likelihood of a significant difference between the group averages is large.
– Correlation coefficient (usually denoted by “r”). This coefficient varies from 0 when there is no correlation to +1 if the correlation between two variables is perfect and positive or -1 if the correlation between the variables is perfect and negative. Numbers between 0 and +1 or -1 indicate the degree of positive or negative correlation between the variables. The size of r is determined by calculating the mean of each variable and examining the distance between each data point on the x and y axes from the mean in a positive or negative connection. Then, the two differences are multiplied and the sample size is taken into consideration to determine the significance level of r at a predetermined significance level (usually the 95% or 5% level).
– Linear regression. This approach is used when there is a sufficiently consistent correlation between two variables, such that a researcher can predict one variable by knowing the other. (Calf, p. 358). To this end, a researcher creates a model of this relationship by developing an equation that states what this relationship is. This equation is usually expressed as y = a + bx., where “a” is a constant and “b” refers to the slope of the line that best indicates the fit or correlation between the two measured variables. .
– Nonlinear regression. It refers to a situation that occurs when two variables are not linearly related such that a single straight line cannot be used to express their relationship. Such a nonlinear regression can occur if there is a curved relationship, such as when there is a gradual increase in interest in an activity, followed by a surge in enthusiasm, then a plateau in interest. . Another example might be a bimodal distribution or a cyclical relationship, such as when there is a pattern of interest for a twice-a-year activity or an up and down growth in interest, such as when there is a spike in interest following the introduction of a new program several times a year, followed by a decline in interest until a new program is reintroduced.
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