“questions-for-quantitative-studies-5.doc” has 14 questions to answer after reading either one of these two articles: “stretching-to-prevent-injury-1.pdf” and “comparison-of-cell-phone-drunk-driving-1.pdf”.I also attached an example given by the professor. (“quantitative-example-2.doc”).
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HOD2500: Critical Review of a Quantitative Study
Anon E. Mouse
April 1, 2017
Bowman, L. L., Levine, L. E., Waite, B. M., & Gendron, M. (2009). Can students really
multitask? An experimental study of instant messaging while reading. Computers &
Education, 54, 927-931.
1. Briefly describe the researcher’s background, interests, and potential biases. Please note
if some of this information is not reported in the article.
According to the Central Connecticut State University website, Dr. Laura Bowman specializes in
social psychology and memory, and did her dissertation on self-generated information. She
teaches classes on cognitive psychology, which suggests that she is knowledgeable about mental
processes like attention and distraction. The researchers are all professors at Central Connecticut
State University. Therefore, they may be biased in their observations of their own students use of
computers for social purposes during class. Dr. Bowman may also be biased in that she teaches
the current research on attention and distraction, therefore she may be hesitant to accept
contradictory results to traditional findings. This information was not reported in the article.
2. Did the researchers make a good case for the significance of the problem?
Yes, the researchers established a good case for the significance of the problem. They described
the consequences of the world todayespecially among young peopleof partially paying
attention to multiple tasks at once. First, they explain the significant impact task switching has
on time to complete tasks, a threat to productivity among students and the workforce.
Additionally, the researchers describe how this trend threatens their education as they mention the
correlation between the heavy use of synchronous communication for general, nonacademic
purposes and impaired academic performance. Further, they described how research that
discredits young peoples belief that they can inconsequentially multi-task is applicable outside of
the classroom as well, as there are numerous threats like drivers talking on their cell phones that
stem from multitasking.
Review of the Literature
3. Does the literature review indicate that the researcher is knowledgeable about previous
work in the area? Indicate what the review does and does not cover in your answer.
The literature review was comprehensive as the authors reference a plethora of studies that
attempt to answer similar question on distractions by media. They reference previous
correlational studies about IMing conducted in the working world such as in the Navy.
Additionally, they frame the study with peripheral studies about the mechanisms of distractions
and the threats to attention. For example, they reference studies that examine other forms of
medias interference with academic performance, such as the noise of background television.
However, they could have referenced studies that examine more similar forms of media to IMing,
such as texting or emailing, as that may be more comparable to IMing than studies on more
passive media forms like television or radio.
4. Does the review establish a theoretical framework for the study? If so, name and briefly
describe the framework. (For example, if a researcher is conducting a study on
motivation, it would be useful for them to use a theoretical framework such as Maslows
Hierarchy of Needs to guide their observations and provide context for their
Yes, the review establishes a solid theoretical framework for the study based based on theories of
of attention and distraction. In the human mind, attention capacities are limited and the division
of ones attention leads to decrements in performance. The level of distraction depends not only
on the motivation of the individual towards the target task, but also on the distractor stimulis
properties. Distractions are more likely to divert ones attention if the stimuli are novel, have an
abrupt onset, change over time, or are distinctive compared to other stimuli. A large part in the
allocation of ones attention is the voluntary allocation of cognitive effort towards a task. If a
target activity is mundane, an individual is more likely to be motivated pay attention to
distractions like a new text message or IM. If people are selectively attending to one of multiple
messages such as writing a paper, distracting messages can be ignored more easily and tuned
out. Though, if competing tasks are engaging, require mental activity, or are similar to the
target activity, it is more difficult to focus attention. Due to this property of attention, alternating
back and forth between activities that share similar features (like writing an essay while also
writing an instant message) may extend the total time devoted to completing the target activity.
There is also evidence presented that practice multitasking over time is not significant, and no
matter what if people perform two subsequent tasks in close time to each other, the result is
slower reaction time to the second task. Known as the psychological refractory period, this
phenomenon occurs even when tasks are not similar.
5. Is the literature reviewed analyzed as well as summarized? If not, how is the analysis
The literature that relates explicitly to the use of IMs is summarized as well as analyzed
sufficiently. The authors begin their literature review analytically by shedding light on the
currently conflicting research about the effects of IMing on academic performance. For example,
some studies have found that [IMing] enchances online participation in class whereas other
studies have shown that students use IM mainly for social purposes, even when its use is built
into their course structure. Additionally, after referencing an experimental study of the effects of
IMing while reading on academic performance, they determined that the results are obscured by
the lack of distinction between the time taking to IM versus the reading time. Based on the
analysis of the literature review, they were able to determine thatwhile there is sufficient
experimental research about the effects of televisionthere is a lack of experimental research
related directly to the effects of IMing on academic performance. In the summary of research
related to the effects of T.V., there is less analysis on which competing theories are more
applicable to the discussion of IMing, which could have been helpful for the audience to solidify
the relationship between the two forms of media distraction.
6. State the research question(s) in your own words using the HOD2500 formula for
qualitative research questions.
What is the effect of instant messaging on reading time and comprehension level of an academic
passage among college students in the United States?
7. Is the method of selecting participants clearly stated? Describe the strengths and
limitations of the researchers approach.
It is stated that eighty-nine college students aged 17-49 years participated to earn credit for
their general psychology class. A strength to this sampling that it is drawn from a population that
this research is very applicable to: college students. However, there are several limitations of this
selection method and the way it was described in the article. First, it was never stated that the
selection was truly random, which needs to be specified to signify a proper selection method and
ensure internal validity of the research to the audience. Second, by using the convenience method
of sampling from a very specific population of mostly Caucasian, full-time students, their results
cannot be generalized more than to comparable college students.
8. Briefly describe the measures/instruments being used and evaluate them in terms of
their reliability and validity for this study.
Before the began, the researchers measured the previous IM usage of the subjects through a
questionnaire that the subjects filled out themselves. This is not a reliable measure as the subjects
may not be able to correctly estimate how much time they spend IMing. Also, they may have
selected a smaller interval of IMing because of the social desirability bias. During the experiment,
the time taken to read the passage and the time spent IMing was recorded automatically by
software on computers. This is a reliable and valid measure as it is an objective criteria (time) and
biases were removed by using a computer program. Lastly, the experiment also measured reading
speed and retention using 25 multiple choice questions related to the passage that were developed
by the authors and administered by the computer software after the passage was read. This quiz
could have been made more reliable if another, unbiased researcher had developed the multiple
choice questions to ensure that their difficulty level was appropriate. Further, to ensure that this
quiz would be more valid for testing the retention of information, it may have been beneficial to
do open-ended questions to eliminate the chance of guessing on answers.
9. Briefly describe and critique the overall design of the study. Begin by indicating
whether the study was non-experimental (descriptive, correlational, comparative, or ex
post factor), experimental, or single subject.
This experimental study design was average as it contained a pretest that should have been further
verified and no delayed reaction test. First, the researchers randomly assigned participants
correctly to three different groups, the control group that would receive no IMs and two
experimental groups that either would received all IMs before beginning the passage or would
receive IMs 17 seconds into each page of the passage (5 pages and 5 IMs.) A pretest was conduct
that tested an independent sample of students (n=36) enrolled in a general psychology class to
determine baseline knowledge about personality disorders. This pretest was effective in gaining
a baseline metrics of the average knowledge of students at Central Connecticut University,
however this aspect of the study design could have been improved upon. It would have been
worthwhile to also conduct a pretest involving the subjects themselves to test for extraneous
variables that could alter the results of the post test, such as GPA, reading speed, or IQ. Also, due
to the fact that this pretest did not test the actual participants and their reading
speed/comprehension, it does not present any metrics to compare to the post test for a delta. The
administration of the test treatment was a strength of the study design. The dependent variables,
information retention and reading speed, were operationalized and objective and thus easily
measured by the computer. Finally, there was no delayed reaction test to see whether the results
the researchers found were lasting or not. This may be significant if perhaps there was a
statistically significant difference
10. Are descriptive statistics, statistical significance, and effect size(s) presented clearly?
Yes, some descriptive statistics are presented clearly, however they are not addressed in terms the
average, everyday reader could fully grasp. They present the means and standard deviations of
each group that was tested. For example, the differences in time (reported in minutes) among
those who IMed before reading (M=28.63, SD= 16.67). Further, the correlation coefficient in
their statistical analyses are given, for example the correlation between time took reading and no
IMing p < .001. However, they do not mention mode, median, or range, which could have been useful for an everyday readers understanding. Moving on, statistical significance is sufficiently mentioned. Effect size was only presented for one t-test that was conducted on the total time spent IMing for those who IMed before reading to those who IMed while reading, (d=.40.) Effect size was not presented for the one-factor between-subject ANOVAs or the post hoc (LSD) comparisons. It would have been helpful if the reasearchers explained the practical significance of each of these findings. Discussion and Conclusions 11. Are the credibility of the findings addressed in terms of reliability, internal validity, and external validity? There is room to be improved in regards to addressing the credibility of their findings. In regards to past research, the authors address that their study is more reliable than in the past, because participants were previously allowed to decide when and if they wanted to reply to the IM, so they could prepare to switch at their convenience. This was not a relevant factor in this study, as subjects had to respond to the IM right away. Therefore, this test is more credible and reliable as this theory of negotiated interruptions was not applicable. However, they do not address the issues of reliability in the initial self-diagnosis test taken by subjects about the time spent IMing because of the subjects self-reported measures. Further, they do not address any threats to internal validity such as unequivocal groups, an important point considering they did not control for the three groups average reading speeds or GPAs before the posttest. The credibility of the findings in terms of external validity was not mentioned in the study either. In the discussion section, the authors generalized their results to all young people. However, the authors fail to mention this studys limited credibility in that context, as it is not generalizable to all young people in the United States. 12. Are appropriate limitations indicated? What might you add to the researchers limitations? Many appropriate limitations are included, but a few regarding the generalizability of the research is not. They mention that the IM interruptions may have been caused by the psychological refractory period but they also address that these extended reading times could also have been caused by the necessity to simply reread portions of the passage. They also recognize the limitations in knowing why the group that received IMs before the passage had the fastest reading times. The authors speculate that it could have been from becoming more comfortable with the software or from telling them that they would be receiving IMs before the reading and not during so they felt as though they could focus. Though, they appropriately recognize that their study does not properly test those hypotheses, and therefore they cannot make a conclusion. However, the researchers leave out a lot regarding the limitations of the research sample. They do not address how testing mostly white, mostly full-time students at a single university could have limited the population to which they are able to generalize the results. 13. Are appropriate implications and recommendations (for the public, practitioners, and other researchers) indicated? What could you add? They address that, although new technology holds many benefits, it also poses risks of distractions that make it difficult to remain focused on academic tasks. They mention that these implications extend to the way educators approach their work in the classroom as well. They did not mention the potential implications of their work on other tasks that involve reading and retention, such as in the workplace. These implications would be relevant in the workplace in regards to employee efficiency. They do address several recommendations for future research. They suggest designing studies to limit student re-reading and studies that are designed with a time limit reflecting many students real-life limited-time study conditions. They also suggest exploring studies that research whether the anticipation of interruptions has an effect on reading time and comprehension. I would also add recommendations to explore research on the effects of IMing across age groups and whether different cohorts are effected more strongly by distracting IMs and other forms of media. Final Analysis Dear Dr. Bowman, Dr. Levine, Dr. Waite, & Dr. Gendron, Thank you for submitting your article to our journal. Your research exploring task time and retention rates while IMing is very engaging and certainly merits exploration. Upon completion of your article, I found it necessary to write you to address a few key strengths, but also to bring to your attention some weaknesses that should be resolved to improve the reliability and validity of your research. The study excels in a few specific areas that add credibility to your article. They include: The extensive and thoughtful literature review that contextualized your work within current research. This section allowed the audience to see the depth of your expertise regarding your subject. The theoretical framework that was initially established in your article. It laid out in terms that any reader could understand the mechanisms of attention and distraction, allowing the audience to fully engage with your work. The clever use of a comparable, independent sample of students to gather baseline metrics on students knowledge of psychological disorders without effecting the posttest. The instrumentation and administration of the experimental treatment (the IMs) by your computer software, which eliminated potential biases of researchers. The software collected data such as the separation between time IMing and reading, a distinction that previous research had not made. The holistic literature review in your article and solid instrumentation of your design create a firm platform on which this interesting topic can be explored further. As it is right now, however, your study contains major flaws that must be addressed before any potential publication. Among the most important aspects that could be improved are: The lack of a clear, to-the-point research question that designates the precise dependent variable and sample that you will be testing. The lack of a further pretests on subjects themselves to check for extraneous variables that may threaten the internal validity of the study. The lack of a delayed retention test to determine if the results of each group were lasting. The generalization of your results to the academic performance of all young adults, implying that this study is externally valid to all young people. That being said, there are specific and actionable steps that can be taken in order to improve these limitations of your article. To begin, express your research question in succinct format that both identifies the specific dependent variables you are researching and the population from which you are drawing subjects. For example, your research question could be: What is the effect of instant messaging on reading time and comprehension level of an academic passage among college students in the United States? Moving on, in an experimental study such as this one, it is essential to conduct a pretest on the subjects themselves 1) to establish baseline metrics to find the delta between the posttest/pretest and 2) to test that the groups are equivalent at the start of the experiment. Your current pretest cleverly conducted a study on an independent sample of students to determine baseline knowledge about the passage. However, by not assessing the subjects themselves, there remains the threat of statistically significant differences between the three groups regarding other extraneous factors, such as average reading speeds or IQs. To further validate this pretest and ensure equivalency between the three groups, you could compare the average GPA of each group, as that would give a reasonable idea of their reading comprehension ability and/or IQ. Additionally, in regards to the research design itself, it would be beneficial to conduct a delayed reaction test two weeks after the first ... 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