Psych Stats Tutor: Academic literacies, research design and analaysis


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Tutoring and Making the Most of WiziQ

I have returned to the fold at WiziQ this week~ been a few years (busy as project manager for a community group I coordinate). Now am making time to make the most of blended learning and flipped classroom options.

Whilst I’m making changes to my site here, I am re-exploring my profile options on WiziQ. Coming soon Moodle Classrooms, free and paid courses and more!

Come explore with me~ Or Friend me if you’re already registered.



Randomisation as a Statistical Assumption

Randomisation use in research and its conceptualisation for students is a topic this week on a forum I visit.

I have rounded up some youtube vids that I use with my clients. I supplement these with email quizzes and SMS questions to prompt students to create their own research design using either or both randomisation processes.

For those with interest, I also share literature critiquing the use of randomisation for empirical purposes. Some shares below~


Pic via blog post, A Critique of Pure Randomness over at Ex Uno Plura


What is Random?

What is Not Random?

3 Kinds of Randomness in Research

Random Sampling (from a Population)

Simple Random, Convenience, Systematic, Cluster, Stratified

Random Allocation (to a group within a Sample)


Interactive Randomness Activities

Math Tools: Probability and Statistics for Randomness

Randomness and Chance Activities

Variability and Randomness within Classroom Activities

Literature on Learning Randomness

Bar-Hillel, M. & Wagenaar, W.A. (1991). The perception of randomness. Advances in Applied Mathematics,
12(4), pp 428-454. DOI: 10.1016/0196-8858(91)90029-I

Noether, G. E. (1987). Mental random numbers: Perceived and real randomness. Teaching Statistics,
10(3), 68-70. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9639.1987.tb00839.x


Procrastination Busters: Tips from Study Soup

This tutor recommends the peer-to-peer learning blog for tertiary students.

Learning is social. And you gain access to  abroad range of study notes at budget rates. My fav procrastination blocker tip from Study Soup is #3 Make Your Goals Public


Personally, I have found frequent breaks to do chores or crafting whilst watching video lectures, helps a lot to get stuff done.

I chip away at my work. I drip-feed ~:-) The lil things are not that lil.

What tips can you share for the procrastinators among us?


Categorical Variables: Nominal and Ordinal

Taken from Chapter 1 in Fields (2013):
Categorical (entities are divided into distinct categories):
Binary variable: There are only two categories (e.g., dead or alive).
Nominal variable:There are more than two categories (e.g., whether someone is an
omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, or fruitarian).
Ordinal variable: The same as a nominal variable but the categories have a logical order
(e.g., whether people got a fail, a pass, a merit or a distinction in their exam).ecto man

Recently I was discussing what constitutes a logical order to differentiate nominal and ordinal. Important as different tests and graphic display of data is required.


Stats Midterm Prep

Several of the students I am working with have midterms for statistics in the next few weeks. Revision is a core task for learning stats.


Wrap your practice gear around these:

The review site for Fields, start with Chapter 1 resources

Review levels of measurement

Practice identifying IVs and DVs

Which research design to use?



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Critical Reflection #14: CoPs South Africa vs. CoPs Australia

Image: Sports Betting News

The critical reflection for my Tertiary Teaching subject discussion on the eboards revolves around comparing and contrasting my present CoP with Jawitz overlapping CoPs in Cape Town. As I am not affiliated with an institution, and am self-employed in a company of 1 ~:-), I will reflect on my past CoP.

The questions to consider are:

What are your [overlapping] CoPs in the [current] institution?

Jawitz (2009) identified 3 overlapping CoPs at the Cape Town university. The first was an active undergraduate committee to monitor and contribute to the teaching curriculum of undergraduates.  The team met regularly and so developed shared understandings of values, principles and goals to their teaching. Senior academics did not take part in the teaching of undergrads and so did not attend the meetings. I think this would limit the rate of growth as teachers amongst the more junior academics. More Knowledgeable Others was Vygotsky’s term for the more experienced scaffolding and stepping back and in to guide and leave be, new learners (Gallagher 1999).

At the uni at which I taught, there was no hub of TA teaching staff for the undergraduates. At least one course I was TA had the senior TA as coordinator of 3rd year stats subject, however meetings were infrequent and often high in tension (I wanted to update tutorial notes to reflect current practices, the senior tutor was not interested, the senior lecturer was if I did the updating without expecting payment~ I updated the class notes, drawing on past examples and these are still on the subjects Blackboard area for students to access). I assume that there was a committee of senior staff (how else to coordinate the curriculum?], who did most of the lecturing, and some of the tutoring, for undergraduates, but I never heard about it.

Traditionally graduates of the profession who aspired to becoming academics began their careers by first working in practice and establishing themselves as members of a broad professional CoP … they accumulated substantial capital associated with the profession and some experience of teaching prior to embarking on a full-time career as academics (p. 244-245).

This aspiring academic (moi) threw herself into my teaching career, passionate plus ~:-) I was fortunate enough to be a casual lecturer within the School or Psychology at the uni I was at, as well as The School of Indigenous Studies at the same uni. I was accepted onto a university sub-committee for coordinating room allocation across schools (the Psych department was misunderstood in its need for lab space to enable controlled studies, so I was keen to plug the cause). As a member of a Thesis Reading Group I was able to mingle with numerous other postgrads, some of whom were teaching also, and so improve my critical reading, writing and argument presentation. Also, I was avidly attending university run postgrad teaching workshops, again allowing me to network with TAs and casual lecturers across schools (occassionally Psych colleagues would attend).

Was thrilled to have a poster presentation of my 4th year research at a conference in a nearby city, exposing me to a network of practicing psychologists and research academics.

I continued to coordinate a Student Study Space for Psych students that housed a library of texts and resources that I had sourced from publisher donations and from equipment across the university. A bonus was success for my application for funding to have a long term senior community member employed to help with cataloging, letter and newsletter typing up, and typing up my letters for funding.

I found the senior staff disinterested, discouraging (admin was fabulously supportive initially) and pathetic in conveying the message that I was  “getting above myself ” and “trying to impress others”. Basically, my efforts to participate in professional practice were seen as threatening and as “having an agenda”. That the agenda was education of myself to enable me and those I taught as well as to be a part of the teaching community as per institutional published principles, was of no consequence (no one actually ever stated my my apparent ‘evil’ agenda was, even when asked directly [and politely], though ‘marriage’ was alluded to~ yes, pee yourself laughing, I did ~:-).

I assume their was a CoP for postgrads~ I never heard about it though.

Basically, no overlap due to no learning community.

How is your identity different in each CoP (paying particular attention to identity formation, CoP roles, and learning trajectories)

As a teacher I identified myself as passionate, enthusiastic, highly motivated to put into practice what I learn. I saw my role within the School of Psych as both learner and facilitator, confidant and mentor to students and colleagues, a mentee of more advanced postgrad TAs, and ‘gopher’ who would willing take up the slack to contribute toward better processes and practices of educating. At the institutional level I was keen to contribute as a teacher to the enhancement of the uni and student experiences their whilst capacity building my skills, knowledge and competencies.

Within my USQ subjects I identify as an Inbound Identity Trajectory, “Where newcomers’ identities are invested in their future as full members of a specific community of practice” (Werger, 1998 in Jawitz, 2009, p. 244).

I strongly identified as a researcher~ I love it! As a Master’s student I was continuing my 4th year project of indoor navigation using virtual environments. I was/see myself as a contributer to building on prior knowledge in areas of environmental, social and educational psychology. Mixed method designs that triangulate quantitative and qualitative data make me most excited ~:-) I discontinued my Masters when I left employment at the uni (3 months to go on it), however, I have designed and had accepted 5 PhD cross-cultural designs for students from across the globe, and was fortunate to supervise a QLD-wide Fire Management Survey amongst rural property owners for a local NGO.

When I’ve time ~:-) I want to collaborate with local charities and my social work partner of other business (Reuse Recycle, Cairns) to apply for funding to research at the community level in areas of youth confidence, social science education and small business. Again, an inbound identity trajectory as I will be collaborating with like minds, mentoring and being mentored/supervised, and focused on a specific community of practice (community development).

The junior and middle academics in Jawitz’s case study emphasised that they were responsible for most of the administrative tasks of their department, taking the School to the strongest in the nation. And that their role as researchers was minimal.

Jawitz reports one participant as complaining of, “the antagonism between ‘people that practice and people that teach’”  (p. 245). It appears that at the Cape Town university most of the senior staff were not teaching per se, unless providing coursework instruction to Master’s students.

At the uni where I taught all senior staff were also teaching undergrad subjects. However, the above attitude prevailed. Many did not want to teach, they were not able to do research though unless they did. I can understand the tension of wanting to live one’s passion and being hampered by activities one does not necessarily want to do~ this is called life ~:-)

We take responsibility, as adults for what we want in life, and the sacrifices that enable dreams to be lived. Drawing a wage at a job one does not want to do is a prostitution of self~ many of us do it because it may be what we need to do to see goals through. Few of us though, take our disappointments out on the ‘customer’ (e.g., undergrads and postgrad teaching staff). As a mystery shopper, I can tell you that company CEOs are not interested in staff reasons for projecting their disgruntlement onto patrons.

Not fulfilling obligations one has signed up for and accepting a wage is called stealing.

So, I do not understand those who have no passion, or have lost it, for educating and who continue to remain employed in academia instead of manifesting their vision. The teaching and wider community who benefit from confident competent teachers needs selfish academics to-get-out-of-the-way. They are holding up progress.

What tensions do you experience between your identities in each CoP?

At my past uni it was very frustrating to be trained in systematic methods and then be inhibited from using them in teaching practices.  I saw teaching and research as complementary and was very surprised that faculty were not drawing on research more to inform practices, such as standardising TA teaching practices and evaluations (e.g., marking of presentations or essays). Or blending research subjects and other psych subjects, such as data collection in developmental psych or content analysis of counselling pracs.

Several of Jawitz’s participants appeared to be more passionate about teaching as compared to research. But it is evident  that for some, the inability to live their researcher roles due to the expectation of taking on the administrative tasks of senior staff was frustrating.

Has your professional identity changed from your previous place of employment? If so, how, and how do you explain this change?

No. I am passionate about tertiary teaching and research. My identity trajectory has changed as I am now within a group of social activists (can you believe they also worked at the same uni and were also marginalised, and left). My change in trajectory form outbound to inbound is simply due to community of learning culture; equity, education, celebration of differences and a yearn to manifest the changes that the wider community is asking for.

Interestingly, the dominant trajectory for Jawitz’s participants was from inbound to outbound, in the sense that they went from undergraduate teaching to professional teaching (of postgrads) and that these two groups were distinctly separate at the Cape Town uni.

How would you answer these questions?


Critical Reflection #12: CoPs and Scholars

Image: Silence and Voice

Blast from the past:

Am feeling quite tired this evening (it’s 6pm in Cairns Australia) as I have had a busy day on my push bike (to city and back twice so far, and another 8 kms at 7pm). Have the music on my headphones so I don’t drift

However, I am keen to do at least one reading and make a comment on the discussion board for my online Scholarship in Higher Education: Reflection and Evaluation subject at USQ. What better way then to share my critical analysis and reflections with you…?

First of all the term CoPs, has nothing to do with blue shirts chasing robbers ~:-) The term stands for Communities of Practice, which says to me, a group of like minded people, who share, help, discuss and debate to reach mutual goals of practice, in this case, education.

This would tie in with our semesters, Theme 1: Capacity Building through learning communities (LCs). The key word evidently is communities, which relates to the focus of the previous reflective post for this subject. The goal of reflection on LCs is to enhance our capacities as educators~ perfect! as this is why I signed up for this course~ professional development.

The concept of CoPs complements the theme of my entire course in Tertiary Teaching, that learning is a social process. Also emphasised, is that learning occurs in context, hence this gathering of educators for the Teaching Cert.

The concepts of “learning zones and learning trajectories” are not ones that I have heard of before, but the former speaks to me of places of learning and the latter of expected outcomes.

From the reading it appears that Theme 1 is particularly concerned with my individual identity formation as an educator. Great~ all about me! Well, after reading the next sentence in the reading, the Theme is about how I interpret myself and colleagues (as educators) across time and contexts.

Shall be interesting to see how learning as a metaphor is investigated. Capacity building through situated learning makes sense to me; we are learning in context of the real world and developing skills, competencies and knowledge to facilitate the ongoing learning of ourselves, as well as those who come to use for learning strategies.

That learning within a community of practice contributes to my and our robustness and resilience is obvious. Discussion amongst ourselves will help to debate differences and to take in the input of a multiple of perspectives, which will aid in filling in gaps, noting what is ignored and adding to existing knowledge; relationships that form within the community through sharing will provide a safe and trusting atmosphere for bouncing back from failures and moving through challenges.

As a researcher I am well aware of the need to know when one has been successful, and that there are times when one one needs to know, how successful.

Ok, my tiredness has caught up with me and I’ve a ride to town to do; this reflection will be continued (the reading is 21 pages anyhow ~:-)

Are you part of a CoP? What do you see as the value of learning communities?


The de Bono Code: When language isn’t enough

I have been away from my blog on a writing splurge. Researching and writing has taken me to insightful blogs, has me making contact with a diverse group of like-minded people, and provided me with much food for thought as to how to relate my findings to student needs.

A few students have mentioned the study-home balance can be a real challenge. To help alleviate some of that happy home stress I am trialing de Bon Code. Edward de Bono is one of my favorite writers~ he writes about thinking; how we think…and how we can create new thinking patterns that enable effective change.

I know that my household could use better communication techniques~ it can be confusing to have an aspie (autistic) in the home, we do have a refreshing way of viewing the world that can really get other’s backs up. Though it is not all me :-) (and I’m egocentric!), we live in a 21st century culture that often encourages conversation to focus on “what’s in it for me” rather than communication of our personhood.

Going Beyond the Limits of Language is fabulous in its simplicity, though de Bono has created comprehensive system for use in homes, schools and businesses.

Language has been the biggest help to human progress. But Ironically, Language has also become the barrier to its own development. We are locked in to words and concepts that are limited and out of date. These force us to see the world in a very old-fashioned way.

I resonate with these statements. Often, I find others very “locked in” to particular words, and tending to see a negative definition of a word first. I find this frustrating, and more than a little confusing. I think we are talking about A and they are hearing B and are on the defensive or have gone straight to a preemptive strike. Whilst I have started my own mental “code book” of  B vocab I find it exhausting and ever so pointless to use words in this way, and am fully aware that my brain is changing due to what I “feed” it.

On a tangent, this line of thinking reminds me of a story:

A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt about a tragedy. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.”

The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?”

The grandfather answered, “The one I feed.”

Methinks that ancient challenge to be in the world and not of it begins with language.

Ok~ the network of my wiring is throwing up all sorts of related material, so share I must:

A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about the secret of happiness from the wisest man in the world. The lad wandered through the desert for 40 days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop a mountain. It was there that the wise man lived.

Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our hero, on entering the main room of the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and went, people were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and there was a table covered with platters of the most delicious food in that part of the world. The wise man conversed with everyone, and the boy had to wait for two hours before it was his turn to be given the man’s attention.

The wise man listened attentively to the boy’s explanation of why he had come, but told him that he didn’t have time just then to explain the secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy look around the palace and return in two hours.

“Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something”, said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. “As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill”.

The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the room where the wise man was.

“Well”, asked the wise man, “Did you see the Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”

The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.

“Then go back and observe the marvels of my world”, said the wise man. “You cannot trust a man if you don’t know his house”.

Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had seen.

“But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?” asked the wise man. Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone.

“Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you”, said the wisest of wise men. “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon”.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Ok~ where were we, yes, de Bono, thinker extraordinaire…you really must visit his site on the topic, and then just give it a go. Personally I find it much more thrilling, communicative and productive than the “fast” B lingo many appear to opting for…I think it is the shortcut style of the B language which irks me the most, like using stereotypes, it’s just being too lazy to think outside the square, which is ironic, considering those that choose not to use it [like moi] are labeled lazy and square.  Hah! karma caught me in a judgment loop there :-)

I love this world, the gods really are having a belly laugh~

Here is my Happy Home Code so far…(numbers and letters on slips of paper are used with a magnet on the fridge, the code list is beside it for ease of reference)…

1  = I want to ask something

2 = I am angry at you and want to talk later

3 =  Ok to your anger and let me know when you want to talk and I’ll see if that time aligns for me

4 = I am very angry with you and don’t want to talk about it~ maybe ever!!!

5 = I acknowledge your anger

6 = I want to check something with you

7 = I have time to talk (15 minutes)

8 = Sending out hugs!

9 = No thank you to hugs right now

10 = I need a friend to just Listen

11 = I want alone time

12 = You are awesome!

13 = What is the matter?

14 = Get over yourself! I think you are saying…

15 = You are not doing your share of the chores as a housemate and I feel taken advantage of

16 = I’m glad we are both alive at the same time

17 = Fuck I hate the world!

18 = Such joy!!! I love the world

A = I have other code ideas I would like to suggest…

Give it a go and let me know how you fare~

Brain and Language Journal

Koan as Ritual

Language Miniatures

The Secret to Connecting with People

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Student Organization Reminders

Just Say No (Dayton,1974)

  • Many people find it difficult to say “No” to doing something.
  • Suggests that people cannot justify not cooperating.
  • Need to ask ourselves how the new task will aid in meeting current goals.
  • Prior prioritization of tasks should already have included the needs and conerns of others.
  • Prior decisions should also have considered others goals which one is able to complete.
  • Hence, first identify specifically what another needs from you.
  • Be aware of one’s own abilities, and accept them.
  • Reflection on one’s capabilities leads to self-knowledge that can guide one’s decision of when to accept/refuse a task from another.
  • Be able to accept that another would be more suitable; again considering the needs of others.
  • “I don’t think I am the person to provide you with that service/product etc”.

What Really Matters? (Thompson, 2002)

  • Do many of us waste time during our day?
  • Do we waste time and not make time to reflect on our actions and consider what we are doing?
  • Tasks are not getting done, even though the day has been planned out.
  • The author tried organization – and spent a lot of money on books and computer hardware.
  • Reads many ‘self-help’ articles to assist with time management.
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A Philosophical Outline…

Discourse on Method by René Descartes
Image via Wikipedia

Why was Locke strongly opposed to the concept of innate ideas proposed by Descartes?

Discuss Locke’s criticism of the supposed evidence for innate ideas.

What was Locke’s alternative explanation to the origins and sources of human knowledge?

In this scheme, how do we acquire complex or abstract ideas, assuming such ideas are not innate?

If Locke’s theory is correct, what are the limitations on the accuracy of human knowledge?

4. Discuss the thought experiment attributed to Mr. Molyneaux and the interpretation of hypothetical results given by Locke and Berkeley.

Why did the empiricists believe that this was such an important experiment?

Would Leibniz predict the same results from this experiment as Locke and Berkeley?

How might Leibniz criticize the empiricist interpretation of the outcome of this thought experiment?

5. Contrast Leibniz psychophysical parallelism with Descartes’ interactive dualism.

Why was Leibniz dissatisfied with Descartes’ analysis of the relation between the mind and body?

To what extent does Leibniz parallelism avoids theoretical problems created by Descartes interactionism?

What, if anything, is valuable about Leibniz theory of monads, on which psychophysical parallelism is based?

6. What is psychophysics?

How did it allow Fechner to solve the mind-body problem?

How did Fechner solution of the mind-body problem differ from Leibniz solution?

Why was the quantitative formulation now referred to as Fechner’s Law considered to be such an important accomplishment at the time it was introduced?

What has been the lasting impact of psychophysics?

7. What were the assumptions of the mechanistic framework adopted by Helmholtz?

What are the virtues of this approach?

What were some of the specific accomplishments of the program of research inspired by Helmholtz mechanistic approach to psychology?

How did he resolve some of the earlier philosophical questions pertaining to innate ideas?

8. Describe Wundt’s contributions to the creation of psychology as an independent academic discipline. According to Wundt, what was the proper method of experimentation in psychology and how was it to be used?

What topics in psychology did Wundt think could not be studied experimentally?

What was Wundt’s alternative to the method of experimental study?

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Thompson’s Model of Strategic Choice: An example of using an ANOVA test

Thompson’s model of strategic choice (1967) provides a framework for an optimal decision-making approach that aligns with the decision-task demands. The primary aim of the study was to determine if success would occur when Thompson’s strategy was followed.

Ho: There will be no difference between the means of the decision approaches used, hence no

group will be more successful and the means will be the same.

Ha: There will be a difference between the means of the decision approaches, in that the mean of

the matched decision approach will be greater than the means of the other groups.

A one-way ANOVA was used because there were three group means (numerical level data), the sample was randomly selected and assigned to groups, and there was one IV (decision-approach) with three levels (matched, mismatch too quantitative, and mismatch too qualitative). Raw data met the assumptions for independent observations, homogeneity of variance, and was normally distributed. And, the test allows comparison of variance between groups to the variance within groups to determine if means are different (Bailey & Burch, 2002; Bernard, 2000; Gliner & Morgan, 2000; Maxim, 1999).




























The alternate hypothesis was supported in that the mean scores for the matched decision approach was significantly different to the means of the too qualitative and too quantitative approaches, F (2, 313) = 1.245, p < .05. Hence, the means were different and the ANOVA significance test supported the Ha (i.e., the mean of the matched decision approach was statistically greater than the means of the other groups, hence was not different due to chance).


Bailey, J. S., & Burch, M. (2002). Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis. Sage


Bernard, R. (2000). Social Research Methods. Sage Publications.

Gliner, J. A., Morgan, & G. A. (2000). Research Methods in Applied Settings: An

Integrated Approach to Design and Analysis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Maxim, P. S. (1999). Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Oxford

University Press.

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