Fear of stats and research generally...

Anything that does not fit into the above categories, but is related to psychology, including discussion of public and media perceptions of psychology, satire related to psychology, etc.
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keenbean
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Fear of stats and research generally...

Post by keenbean » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:16 pm

Hi everyone,

Currently having the fear that no-one will respond to this!!!

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I have a distinct fear of audit/research/stats which began in high-school when I found some maths stuff a bit challenging... anyway, I'm sure no-one needs the full story. I'm wondering if anyone can recommend some 'friendly' texts on research design and/or stats that I can read in a graded fashion to overcome my fear? I have a good text on SPSS but would like to go back to grass-roots and begin to feel like I actually grasp things.

Thanks in advance!

ps - I should point out that I did ok with stats/research at uni and have a genuine interest in research and how it informs practice etc... so it's really just something that will engage me a bit more so that I can hopefully *ahem* enjoy the process a bit more.

just looking
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Post by just looking » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:54 pm

Have no fear...


I have an A-level in Maths and my highest module mark in my degree was the stats component. Still, the words "research" and "stats" make me want to hide under a table. Can't stand the stuff.


However, I know there are a number of really good texts to help with this sort of thing. I can't remember all the highly recommended ones, but the one that comes to mind is excellent - Stats Without Maths

It provides a really succinct, user-friendly guide to stats that won't tax your brain.

Have fun!

keenbean
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Post by keenbean » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:00 pm

Ah thank you just looking, I shall have a look! I knew someone out there would be able to help!

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Elsie
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Post by Elsie » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:00 pm

Hi keenbean

Try checking out this wiki post on statistics, audit and research books recommended by clinpsy forum members.

Personally, I think that Julie Pallant's 'SPSS Survival Manual'and Andy Field's 'Discovering Statistics Using SPSS' are god-sends when explaining stats. For research methodology, Barker, Pistrang and Elliott's 'Research Methods in Clinical Psychology' is an excellent book.

Hope that helps,

Elsie :)
Last edited by Elsie on Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
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Parsa
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Post by Parsa » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:00 pm

In my opinion I think a lot of confusion and panic that is around statistics in psychological research is because of trying to avoid the maths. If you avoid that then you won't really understand it which would make it even more difficult to learn..

charley
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Post by charley » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:41 am

I used 'Statistics without maths for psychology" by C Dancer and Reidy (on amazon) duirng my MSc - i am still hopeless at stats and this starts at the very beginning and works through stats for psychologists and even has a bit of humour in it!!

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BenJMan
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Post by BenJMan » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:05 am

Definitely statistics without maths for me.

DrFurbs
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Post by DrFurbs » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:03 am

Stats is easy once you learn to love them. Initially I hated them but forced myself to think about them in a positive light and ive actually began to really enjoy using them. Also, my uni is very stats and research heavy, ive done loads of practical reports and it got to the point where I prefer them to an essay. In fact, in 3 years ive only written 3 essays, everything else has been reports.

Do you best to see that they are vitally important, think positively and it might click for you too!

keenbean
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Post by keenbean » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:40 am

Thanks for all the comments/pointers. I agree that if I learn to embrace the stats it should hopefully begin to make more sense. In the meantime, I will give the stats without maths book a shot.

My first experience of posting has been very fruitful! :D

Ruthie
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Post by Ruthie » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:17 pm

I can tell you how I overcome my fear of stats. In the first year of my PhD I fessed up to my supervisor that I was nowhere near as confident or competent with stats as I had let on in my interview. He made me sign up to tutor the undergraduates. Teaching forced me to learn it. However, I noticed something in myself and in my students. Stats anxiety interferes with your ability to do stats. So basically, when you crack open the spine of your stats book your mind fills with all kinds of negative automatic thoughts like, “I’m no good at stats”, “I hate this”, “I’ll fail my stats exam”, “I’ll never get a 2.1 in my degree and never get on clinical training”, “This is miserable”, “I am so stupid” resulting in anxiety, physical arousal and a host of cognitive symptoms like not being able to concentrate or focus on the work. This then leads on to a whole host of self-defeating behaviours like ignoring stats, putting the books away, cramming at the last minute for stats exams, getting your one friend who just seems to get stats to do your stats for you or accepting defeat and heading down the bar pronto.

Stats actually isn’t that complicated. You’re a bright individual so if you sit down calmly and learn stats bit by bit in small bites rather than cramming, panicking and begging your stats whiz mate to do it for you, I promise you’ll get there eventually.

I found when I had to break it down into simple steps to teach it to students, the steps became clear in my own mind and I became much more confident over time.

In terms of stats books, Andy Field for the basics and Tabachnick and Fiddell for the complex stuff.

Good luck!

Ruthie

charley
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Post by charley » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:54 pm

On the other hand i used to open the book thinking "right, how hard can it be?" and "i'm bright, i can do this - small chunks and slowly build confidence" so lots of positive self talk and then basically fail miserably as i failed to understand it after page 10 (on a good day) :D

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