Exercises

Exercises:

Skills

  1. A political scientist surveys 28 of the current 106 representatives in a state’s congress.   Of them, 14 said they were supporting a new education bill, 12 said there were not supporting the bill, and 2 were undecided.
    1. What is the population of this survey?
    2. What is the size of the population?
    3. What is the size of the sample?
    4. Give the sample statistic for the proportion of voters surveyed who said they were supporting the education bill.
    5. Based on this sample, we might expect how many of the representatives to support the education bill?
  2. The city of Raleigh has 9500 registered voters. There are two candidates for city council in an upcoming election: Brown and Feliz. The day before the election, a telephone poll of 350 randomly selected registered voters was conducted. 112 said they’d vote for Brown, 207 said they’d vote for Feliz, and 31 were undecided.
    1. What is the population of this survey?
    2. What is the size of the population?
    3. What is the size of the sample?
    4. Give the sample statistic for the proportion of voters surveyed who said they’d vote for Brown.
    5. Based on this sample, we might expect how many of the 9500 voters to vote for Brown?
  3. Identify the most relevant source of bias in this situation: A survey asks the following: Should the mall prohibit loud and annoying rock music in clothing stores catering to teenagers?
  4. Identify the most relevant source of bias in this situation: To determine opinions on voter support for a downtown renovation project, a surveyor randomly questions people working in downtown businesses.
  5. Identify the most relevant source of bias in this situation: A survey asks people to report their actual income and the income they reported on their IRS tax form.
  6. Identify the most relevant source of bias in this situation: A survey randomly calls people from the phone book and asks them to answer a long series of questions.
  7. Identify the most relevant source of bias in this situation: A survey asks the following: Should the death penalty be permitted if innocent people might die?
  8. Identify the most relevant source of bias in this situation: A study seeks to investigate whether a new pain medication is safe to market to the public. They test by randomly selecting 300 men from a set of volunteers.
  9. In a study, you ask the subjects their age in years. Is this data qualitative or quantitative?
  10. In a study, you ask the subjects their gender. Is this data qualitative or quantitative?
  11. Does this describe an observational study or an experiment: The temperature on randomly selected days throughout the year was measured.
  12. Does this describe an observational study or an experiment? A group of students are told to listen to music while taking a test and their results are compared to a group not listening to music.
  13. In a study, the sample is chosen by separating all cars by size, and selecting 10 of each size grouping. What is the sampling method?
  14. In a study, the sample is chosen by writing everyone’s name on a playing card, shuffling the deck, then choosing the top 20 cards. What is the sampling method?
  15. A team of researchers is testing the effectiveness of a new HPV vaccine. They randomly divide the subjects into two groups. Group 1 receives new HPV vaccine, and Group 2 receives the existing HPV vaccine. The patients in the study do not know which group they are in.
    1. Which is the treatment group?
    2. Which is the control group (if there is one)?
    3. Is this study blind, double-blind, or neither?
    4. Is this best described as an experiment, a controlled experiment, or a placebo controlled experiment?
  16. For the clinical trials of a weight loss drug containing Garcinia cambogia the subjects were randomly divided into two groups. The first received an inert pill along with an exercise and diet plan, while the second received the test medicine along with the same exercise and diet plan. The patients do not know which group they are in, nor do the fitness and nutrition advisors.
    1. Which is the treatment group?
    2. Which is the control group (if there is one)?
    3. Is this study blind, double-blind, or neither?
    4. Is this best described as an experiment, a controlled experiment, or a placebo controlled experiment?

Concepts

  1. A teacher wishes to know whether the males in his/her class have more conservative attitudes than the females. A questionnaire is distributed assessing attitudes.
    1. Is this a sampling or a census?
    2. Is this an observational study or an experiment?
    3. Are there any possible sources of bias in this study?
  2. A study is conducted to determine whether people learn better with spaced or massed practice. Subjects volunteer from an introductory psychology class. At the beginning of the semester 12 subjects volunteer and are assigned to the massed-practice group. At the end of the semester 12 subjects volunteer and are assigned to the spaced-practice condition.
    1. Is this a sampling or a census?
    2. Is this an observational study or an experiment?
    3. This study involves two kinds of non-random sampling: (1) Subjects are not randomly sampled from some specified population and (2) Subjects are not randomly assigned to groups. Which problem is more serious? What affect on the results does each have?
  3. A farmer believes that playing Barry Manilow songs to his peas will increase their yield. Describe a controlled experiment the farmer could use to test his theory.
  4. A sports psychologist believes that people are more likely to be extroverted as adults if they played team sports as children. Describe two possible studies to test this theory. Design one as an observational study and the other as an experiment. Which is more practical?

Exploration

  1. Studies are often done by pharmaceutical companies to determine the effectiveness of a treatment program. Suppose that a new AIDS antibody drug is currently under study. It is given to patients once the AIDS symptoms have revealed themselves. Of interest is the average length of time in months patients live once starting the treatment. Two researchers each follow a different set of 50 AIDS patients from the start of treatment until their deaths.
    1. What is the population of this study?
    2. List two reasons why the data may differ.
    3. Can you tell if one researcher is correct and the other one is incorrect? Why?
    4. Would you expect the data to be identical? Why or why not?
    5. If the first researcher collected her data by randomly selecting 40 states, then selecting 1 person from each of those states. What sampling method is that?
    6. If the second researcher collected his data by choosing 40 patients he knew. What sampling method would that researcher have used? What concerns would you have about this data set, based upon the data collection method?
  2. Find a newspaper or magazine article, or the online equivalent, describing the results of a recent study (the results of a poll are not sufficient). Give a summary of the study’s findings, then analyze whether the article provided enough information to determine the validity of the conclusions. If not, produce a list of things that are missing from the article that would help you determine the validity of the study. Look for the things discussed in the text: population, sample, randomness, blind, control, placebos, etc.

Attributions

This chapter contains material taken from Math in Society (on OpenTextBookStore) by David Lippman, and is used under a CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-SA 3.0 US) license.

License

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Exercises by Gail Poitrast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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