Facebook Friend Count vs. Perceptions of Attractiveness

Purpose of the Laboratory Report The assignment will give you hands on experience writing a laboratory report that extends a published study. You will critically analyse the published study and use the key findings from this research when writing the Introduction of your own report. You will also be given a data set on a hypothetical study and be required to analyse the data set to test hypotheses that you develop.

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The assignment help translate much of the theory that you have learned during the lectures into practice. The skills you have learned in the critical analysis of research, and the use of SPSS in the tutorials, will be used to produce the report. The laboratory report will also develop your written communication skills.
Laboratory Report Requirements Summary of the requirements for the laboratory report:

  1. Locate the article by Tong, Van Der Heide, Langwell, and Walther (2008) and critically evaluate the research reported in this paper
  2. Develop your research hypotheses on the set research questions (provided below)
  3. Conduct appropriate statistical analyses on the data set
  4. Prepare a written laboratory report that provides all the required information (specified below) and uses appropriate writing style
  5. Submit your Laboratory Report electronically.

The five requirements of the laboratory report are detailed below.

  1. Locate the article by Tong et al. (2008) and critically evaluate the study. Tong et al. (2008) investigated the relationship between Facebook friend count and perceptions of attractiveness and extraversion.

This assignment will be based on a hypothetical data set that aims to extend the research by Tong et al. (2008). You will need to download and read the article. The reference for the article is below (and the article is available on ): Tong, S. T., Van Der Heide, B., & Langwell, L. (2008). Too much of a good thing? The relationship between number of friends and interpersonal impressions on Facebook. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication, 13, 531-549. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00409.x

You will find that the study is not perfect and that there are a number of concerns regarding the methods, and consequently, the results. Think critically about the study and see if you can identify threats to validity, problems with the methods, and the appropriateness of the author’s conclusions.

You can be guided by the questions below:

  1. What is the aim of the study?
  2. What research question(s) was the researcher testing?
  3. What is the independent variable (grouping variable) and what are the dependent variables?
  4. What are the operational definitions of the variables?
  5. How well-described is the study?
  6. Are there any possible problems with validity and reliability? Assess the study against the threats to validity that you have examined in this course. Do likewise for reliability.
  7. What statistics are used to analyse the results? Are they appropriate and described adequately?
  8. What are the main results?
  9. What conclusions are made and are they consistent with the results?
  10. Are there any alternative explanations for the results?

Experimental Design and Analysis 2018 Laboratory Report

  1. Develop your research hypotheses from the set of research questions The aim of the study was to extend the findings of Tong et al. (2008) who investigated the relationship between Facebook friend count and perceptions of attractiveness and extraversion. The current study extended these findings in 3 main ways.
  2. Firstly, rather than providing an arbitrary number to represent a high or low number of friends (irrespective of the number of friends each participant has), the number of Facebook friends was manipulated using a ‘more friends than you’ versus ‘fewer friends than you’ dichotomy. Secondly, information regarding the closeness and authenticity of these friendships was also provided using a ‘closer and more authentic with their friends than you’ versus ‘not as close or authentic with their friends as you’ dichotomy.
  3. These manipulations were designed to actively promote upwards and downwards social comparisons, respectively. Thirdly, the current study included a measure of self-esteem to explore whether engaging in these upwards and downwards social comparisons regarding (a) the number of Facebook friends one has, and (b) the quality of these friendships, would influence participant’s self-esteem.

You will need to use the data set supplied to you to answer the following research questions:

  1. Does providing information regarding the number of Facebook friends (i.e., more than you/less than you) and the closeness/authenticity of these friendships influence ratings of popularity and self-esteem when compared to not providing this information?
  2. Is there any difference in ratings of popularity and self-esteem when Facebook friendships are close/authentic as opposed to when friendships are not close/authentic?
  3. When Facebook friendships are not close/authentic, is there any difference in popularity and selfesteem ratings for individuals who have more or less friends than the participant?
  4. When Facebook friendships are close/authentic, is there any difference in popularity and selfesteem ratings for individuals who have more or less friends than the participant? Please note: for research question 1 you can choose to provide a hypothesis, OR you can choose to state that this is an exploratory analysis and therefore provide no hypothesis. However, you must provide a hypothesis (or hypotheses) for research questions 2-4. All of your hypotheses must be directional/alternative. The hypotheses for the research questions may be based on theory and past research. Both of these considerations mean that you will need to source other relevant literature in addition to the article by Tong et al. (2008).

A good starter reference that provides additional information regarding upward and downward social comparisons, and self-esteem, is provided below: Greitemeyer, T. (2016). Facebook and people’s state self-esteem: The impact of the number of other users’ Facebook friends. Computers in Human Behaviour, 59, 182-186. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.005 3.

Conduct appropriate statistical analyses on the data set To decide what analyses are appropriate to use to test your stated hypotheses, it will help to think about the following questions: · How will you create your variables with the data set? (think about the information included in the data file “variable view” and whether this information is complete) · What dependent variable(s) will you use? ·

How will you screen your data for accuracy, completeness, and for the necessary assumptions for your subsequent analyses? What descriptive statistics will you use? · What are the important components of your one-way ANOVA (e.g., levels of the independent variable) and how will the analysis directly test your research hypotheses? · What effect size measures will you use? In answering these questions, be guided by the following: · You should use what you have learned in Lectures 1-4 to conduct your analyses.

This will be appropriate assumption testing, the one-way ANOVA, and any necessary multiple comparisons. · While we will also be learning about other ways to conduct analyses before the assignment is due (e.g., Factorial ANOVA), these analyses should not be included in the assignment. · You will need to report the findings from the assumption testing for the ANOVA’s you conduct.

You will need to report the means for each group, for both dependent variables, as well as a measure of variability around the mean (i.e., standard deviation). · You will need to report the outcomes of the inferential tests you conduct. When conducting your multiple comparisons, you must use planned contrasts. There are several ways to run the planned contrasts to test your hypotheses.

However, an example of how you could go about this is provided below (note: green ‘chunks’ are compared with blue ‘chunks’ and black groups are excluded from the contrast). The numbers in the table below represent the experimental group, not the contrast coefficients – you will need to create your own contrast coefficients to run these analyses.
If you would like to run alternative planned contrasts to those outlined below, please discuss this with your tutor in the first instance to make sure what you are proposing still tests your hypotheses:

  1. Control group
  2. Close/authentic friendships + more Facebook friends than participant
  3. Close/authentic friendships + fewer Facebook friends than participant
  4. Not close/inauthentic + more Facebook friends than participant
  5. Not close/inauthentic + fewer Facebook friends than participant Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5 Contrast 1 1 2, 3, 4, 5 Contrast 2 1 2, 3 4, 5 Contrast 3 1 2 3 4 5 Contrast 4 1 2 3 4 5 The marking criteria sheet provides some additional details on what will be assessed. 4. Prepare a written laboratory report that provides all the required information and uses appropriate writing style.
  6. A vital skill in research and statistics is effective communication. Part of effective communication is being able to tell others what you have done to investigate your research problem. The word limit is 2000 words and excludes the title page, text that is already in the template document, and the reference list. Further information about each individual component of the research report is contained in the template document.:
  • Cover page · This is the assignment cover page used by the School.
  • Title page · This should be consistent with APA 6th edition formatting guidelines. · Give the report a title, and include your name, and your affiliation (i.e., Griffith University). · Include the number of words in the assignment (excluding the text that is already in the template document).
  • Abstract · In a maximum of 150 words, summarise the aims, methods, results, and conclusions from the study (i.e., using your results). Experimental Design and Analysis 2018 Laboratory Report
  • Introduction · You should include an introductory paragraph or two that sets the context for your research question. Due to the word limitation, this should not be lengthy, but should mention the key information and provide a justification for the importance of the research. · The majority of the text in the Introduction should be devoted to your critical analysis of Tong et al. (2008). · The final paragraph in your Introduction will include a statement of your hypotheses. You will need to develop your hypotheses based on your understanding of the research questions and data set (see previous sections) and an understanding of the hypothetical methods used to obtain that data (see the Method section in the template document).
  • Method · In this section, the hypothetical Method used to collect the data set is described. Much of the Method has already been provided for you. However, you will need to complete the Participants section. · To complete the Participants section you can assume that the participants in the study were undergraduate psychology students from Griffith University who had volunteered to participate (via the online research participation system) for course credit. The remaining participant information can be found in the SPSS data file (i.e., the number of participants and descriptive statistics for age and gender)
  • Statistical analysis · Describe the independent variable, the levels of the independent variable and the dependent variable(s). · Describe what analyses you planned including assumption testing, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and α level. · Provide the outcomes of the assumption testing. · Include a description of any identified outliers.
  • Results · Present a single Table of descriptive statistics (M and SD) for both dependent variables. Summarise the main features of the descriptive statistics reported in the Table in the text. · Provide the outcomes of the statistical tests (i.e., inferential statistics). · A key component of this assignment is the multiple comparisons – ensure that these comparisons are conducted in a manner that directly tests your stated hypotheses. · Effect sizes must be reported. · Structure your description of the results around the hypotheses you are testing.
  • Discussion · Provide a summary of your results that relates to the original research questions. Did your results support the hypotheses? · What are the implications of your results in terms of psychological theory or in comparison to prior research? · Evaluate your results in terms of issues related to reliability and validity. Are there any confounding variables or other problems with the methods used? · Make suggestions for further research. If the experiment was done again, what would you do differently? How could further research build upon the experiment? · Discuss the practical implications of your research · Provide a concluding statement summarising your report and the main findings.
  • References · Provide a list of the references cited in your laboratory report using APA style formatting Experimental Design and Analysis 2018 Laboratory Report, the article by Tong et al. (2008) and other relevant literature that you can find via databases

Title page
The title page will include an appropriate title, your name and affiliation, plus the number of words in the report. The number of words excludes the title page, text already included in the template document, and references.

The abstract must include a summary of the report that is a maximum of 150 words. In concise language, it should describe the objectives, methods, results, and conclusions.

Introduction You must have an opening paragraph that places the research in context, including prior research, and justifies the importance and need for the research. Note that while you are expected to do a brief literature review, this does not have to be extensive (not a lot of marks are allocated to this part of the Introduction).
You must do a critical analysis of the method and results reported by Tong et al. (2008).
You must finish with a paragraph that states the general research questions (in your own words) and hypotheses.

Method (Participants) You must describe the participants in terms of all relevant demographic variables.

Statistical Analysis
You must describe the independent variable and its levels, and the dependent variable(s). The statistical approach should be described including information on assumption testing methods (and the outcomes), inferential statistical methods, effect size measures, Type I error rates used, and other information as appropriate.

The outcomes of the statistical tests you used must be presented. Relevant effect sizes must be presented. Using the one-way ANOVA, you must test whether there were any main effects. Use multiple comparisons to compare between means where appropriate. The analyses must be reported and should be relevant to the research hypotheses being tested.
A Table must be presented that shows the means and standard deviations (or another appropriate measure of variability around the mean) for both dependent variables. The Table title must be appropriate. The Table must be described adequately in the text. Do not copy a Table directly from the SPSS output into your report.

You must include a summary of the results in relation to the hypotheses that were tested. You must include an interpretation of the results. 8 You must raise any methodological or statistical concerns or limitations (e.g., issues of reliability, validity, or confounding variables). You must discuss the implications of the results and state future directions. There must be a conclusion.

APA Style (References and Writing Style) You must provide the references for research articles that you cited in the report (both in-text and in a reference list). Marks will also be allocated for APA formatting and writing style. 4 Summary Comments: 100 * For all sections, writing style and APA formatting must be appropriate

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