Title: An Analysis of a Selected Research Study
The chosen research study is titled “The Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults” by Johnson and Smith (2019). This study aimed to investigate the impact of exercise on cognitive functioning in a sample of older adults. In this assignment, we will apply the scientific method to analyze the research, assess its adherence to specific beliefs, identify the population and sample, analyze the measured variables and their scales, and discuss potential measurement and design errors.
1. Steps in the Scientific Method:
The scientific method consists of several essential steps: identifying a research question, conducting a literature review, selecting a research design, collecting data, analyzing the data, and drawing conclusions. In the selected research study, the authors followed these steps by identifying the research question (the effects of exercise on cognitive functioning), reviewing existing literature on the topic, selecting a study design, collecting data through surveys and cognitive tests, analyzing the collected data using statistical techniques, and finally drawing conclusions based on the findings.
2. Adherence to Beliefs:
The research study appears to align with the belief that knowledge should be based on empirical evidence. By conducting a study with a specific research design and collecting data through standardized measures, the researchers aimed to provide empirical evidence regarding the effects of exercise on cognitive functioning in older adults. The study also exhibits a commitment to the belief in objectivity, as it sought to establish unbiased conclusions based on systematic data collection and analysis.
3. Population and Sample:
The population of interest in this study is older adults. However, the researchers did not specify the age range or define the criteria for being classified as an “older adult.” The sample consisted of 100 participants, with a mean age of 70 years (SD=5.3). The inclusion criteria required participants to be free from any neurological disorders or illnesses that could affect cognitive functioning.
4. Measured Variables and Scales:
The variables measured in this study include exercise level (independent variable), cognitive functioning (dependent variable), and age and education (control variables). Exercise level was measured using a self-reported questionnaire that assessed the frequency and intensity of physical activity. Cognitive functioning was assessed using standardized cognitive tests, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Trail Making Test.
The measurement scales used in this study are predominantly ordinal and interval. The exercise level questionnaire utilized Likert-type scales to measure the frequency and intensity of physical activity, which represent an ordinal scale. The cognitive tests used in the study produce interval-level data, as the scores derive from a specific numerical scale with equal intervals between the data points.
5. Measurement and Design Errors:
While the research study seems methodologically robust, there are several potential measurement and design errors. Firstly, the study relied on self-reported measures of exercise level, which may introduce recall and social desirability biases. A more objective measure, such as accelerometer data, could have strengthened the findings. Secondly, the sample size of 100 participants may not be representative of the entire older adult population, limiting the generalizability of the results. A larger and more diverse sample could enhance the external validity of the study.
The conclusion of the research study may be impacted by these errors. The reliance on self-reported measures and potential biases raises concerns about the accuracy or validity of the reported exercise levels. Furthermore, the limited sample size may limit the generalizability of the findings to a broader population of older adults. Thus, caution must be exercised when interpreting the conclusions and applying them to different contexts.
In summary, the selected research study effectively incorporated the scientific method, adhered to key beliefs in empirical evidence and objectivity, focused on the population of older adults, measured relevant variables using appropriate scales, and identified potential measurement and design errors that may impact the conclusions. By critically evaluating these aspects, we can better understand the strengths and limitations of the research and the implications for future studies in this area.