MAT 2215 Project Guidelines
• You are a primary researcher. Select a topic of interest to you or you’ll likely to get very bored.
• Form a specific research question or more than one question. Use a sample of at least 25 to
give you enough data to work with.
• Include questions that generate a range of quantitative data, discrete or continuous. If you ask
only “yes or no” questions you may not have much data to work with
• Write your questions so that they are easy for people to understand and to answer. Questions
such as “On average, how many minutes a day do you spend texting?” or “On average how
many calories do you consume each day?” are difficult to answer because most people
probably either don’t have the answer or would have a tough time finding it.
• The wording in the question shouldn’t be vague or ambiguous. Questions such as “On average,
how many healthy meals do you have each day?” or “On average, how many bottles of water do
you drink each day?” are not helpful. The meaning of healthy meal may be different for
different people and a bottle may mean 12 ounces or it may mean 20 ounces.
• Writing suggestions for statistical reports:
a) Avoid definitive language when presenting your findings. Rather than writing “Satisfaction
levels are higher among drivers of hybrid cars”, it’s better to write ““Satisfaction levels
seem (or tend to be) higher among drivers of hybrid cars” Remember that your findings
are based on a sample and may not be true about the population, even if the sample is
b) Avoid references to yourself. For example, rather than writing “I found …” it’s better to
write “The data show…”
c) Avoid giving opinions. Stick to the facts and what the data show. If you choose to offer
opinions, do so in a separate section at the end.
What to submit
o Your project should look and read like a small report (2-3 pages). Below are key points to
address. Write a brief paragraph for each one.
o You don’t need to write in essay form. You can use the question/answer format below.
Whatever you choose, make your work reader-friendly
o At the end of the report, include
o A table with the actual data that you collected.
o A snapshot of the actual questions that your participants answered. For example, if
your participants complete an online survey, take a picture of the survey and paste it.
(1)Which question(s) are you trying on answer?
Here you’d describe what you’re interested in measuring or comparing. For example, “I
want to know whether owners of hybrid cars are as satisfied with performance as owners
of cars that run on gasoline”
(2)Why is the question important?
Here you will describe why the results of your work might be important and to whom. For
example, you might say, “the results would be important to potential car buyers because
…”, or “I’m not sure how the results are important but I’m very curious”, etc.
(3)What is your target population?
Here you’ll describe the population (or populations) of interest. Using the cars example,
your populations would be (1) all owners of hybrid cars and (2) all owners of gas cars
§ Data Collection
(4) How did/will you collect data and what type of sample did/will you use? (random, stratified,
Here you describe how you collected data. Will you submit a survey? Conduct interviews?
With the cars example, ideally, you’d have two random and representative samples from
across the country. However, given the limited resources, you’re not likely to have that, so
describe the sample(s) you’d like to have and then describe the sample(s) you have. For
example, you might say, “I asked 37 friends, family members and co-workers. This included
20 drivers of gas cars and 17 drivers of hybrids”
(5)Explain whether your sample is representative
With limited resources, your sample is not likely to be representative. For the purposes of
this project that’s OK but do state the shortcomings of your sample. In the cars example,
your contacts make a convenience sample which is not representative.
§ Analysis: Statistical Methods & Graphs
(6)What type of statistical analysis did you perform?
Here you explain which statistical methods (summary statistics with mean and SD,
regression analysis, confidence interval, hypothesis test, etc.) you used to help answer your
original question(s) and the results of these methods.
For example, if you want to compare satisfaction levels you might want to make a
frequency distribution for drivers of hybrids and a frequency distribution for drivers of gas
cars. If, in addition, to satisfaction levels you have the age of each driver, you could run two
correlations: age vs. satisfaction for hybrids, and age vs correlation for gas. If you also have
mileage data or data on cost repairs, you could provide a mean and standard deviation of
each set. Depending on the analysis that you performed, you should report the values of the
relevant statistics. For example, sample size, mean, correlation coefficient, margin of error,
(7)What type of graph(s) did you use to present your results?
Here you include the graphs that summarize your data.
The type of graphs that you use will depend on the type of data you collected. If you’re
looking for a correlation you might include a scatter plot; if you’re comparing satisfaction
levels, you might use two bar graphs; if you’re comparing cost repairs you might use two
histograms or two box-whiskers plots.
Whatever you use, don’t just paste a graph(s) in your report. The purpose of a graph is to
help the reader see your results quickly. So,
a) Label your graphs appropriately
b) Keep your graphs simple and avoid bells & whistles (distracting features on graphs)
c) You must refer to your graph(s) somewhere in your narrative. Usually, this is done at
the point where you explain your findings. You might say, for example, “… as Graph 1
shows, younger drivers of hybrid cars tend to be more satisfied people tend to be more
satisfied with their hybrid car then older drivers of hybrid cars…”
§ (8)Discussion & Conclusions
This is where you provide a summary of your findings. It would be OK to remind the reader
the purpose of the study and any limitations of the study. For example, you might say “this
study aimed at comparing the satisfaction levels of … Because a convenience sample was
used, the findings from the study may not generalize to the population…”
Then describe the key findings. For this project, it’s OK to use a bullet list for the findings.
For example, you might say “The data show that:
a) Drivers of hybrid cars reported being about equally satisfied as drivers of gas cars
b) Young drivers of hybrid cars reported being much more satisfied than older drivers of
(9)Paste your data at the end of the report using a table with clear column titles. For example:
Hybrid Driver Satisfaction1 City Mileage2 Gas Driver Satisfaction City Mileage
1 4 31 1 4 24
2 1 34 2 5 25
3 4 37 3 5 24
4 1 33 4 2 33
5 5 43 5 4 34
6 4 41 6 5 34
7 5 38 7 2 24
8 3 39 8 5 31
9 3 39 9 3 23
… … … 10 2 25
… … … 11 1 28
… … … … … …
… … … … … …
1Drivers used a 1 to 5 Likert scale to report their level of satisfaction with their car. (1=very unsatisfied, 5 =
2Drivers estimated the number of miles their car gets on a single gallon of gas, in the city
MAT 2215 Project Rubric
Area Possible Points
o Clear title
o Clearly describes the question being investigated,
o Clearly describes the importance of the question and the population of
Data Collection 1
o The method of data collection is clearly described
o The method of data collection includes measures to reduce
o The amount and type of data collected is appropriate
o The actual data is included and appropriately presented
Statistical Methods and Graphs 2
o Appropriate statistical methods are used
o Statistical results are calculated correctly
o Statistical results are interpreted clearly
o Appropriate graphs are used
o Graphs are accurate and properly labeled
o Graphs are referenced in the narrative
Discussion and Conclusions 1
o Clearly and correctly addresses the question of interest
o Conclusions are supported by the appropriate statistical methods
o Appropriate generalizations are made with supporting evidence
o Addresses limitations of the study.
o Comment on this primary research experience. What have you learned?
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