Analyzing and Evaluating Research Questions and Hypotheses

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Analyzing and Evaluating Research Questions and Hypotheses
Creswell points out that “[I]nvestigators place sign posts to carry the reader through a plan for a study” (p. 129). If the introduction and purpose statement tell where you want to go, the research question or questions are the routes for getting there. In this Discussion, you will work with research questions and hypotheses and examine how they relate to the purpose statement.

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To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review your assigned article—either Article A or Article B, as described above.
  • Review Chapter 7 of the course text, Research Design.
  • Review the book excerpt “A Typology of Research Purposes and Its Relationship to Mixed Methods
  • For those students assigned to the quantitative article, critique the research questions and testable hypothesis. Identify and describe the variables and describe what type of hypothesis it is according to Creswell’s criteria.
  • Look to the Research Questions and Hypotheses Checklist for more guidance in analyzing and evaluating the research questions and hypotheses in your assigned article.

With these thoughts in mind:
Post a 3-paragraph evaluation of your assigned article according to the criteria below:
-For the quantitative article, the research questions and testable hypotheses. Also identify the variables and the type of hypothesis that is present.

 

Resources to use

Required Resources

Course Text: Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches

Chapter 7, “Research Questions and Hypotheses”

In this chapter that will be used in the Application and Discussion, Creswell presents the research questions and hypotheses as the means by which to attain sharper focus for the research study.

Book Excerpt: “A typology of Research Purposes and Its Relationship to Mixed Methods, from the Handbook of Mixed methods in Social and Behavioral Research

Handout: Research Questions and Hypotheses Checklist (Word document)

This handout will be used in Discussion and the Application.

Handout: Article Critique Checklist (Word document)

 

 

Article ( Note:This is a quanitative article)

A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way:

Explaining Why Gratitude Expressions Motivate Prosocial Behavior

Adam M. Grant University of Pennsylvania

Francesca Gino University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

Although research has established that receiving expressions of gratitude increases prosocial behavior, little is known about the psychological mechanisms that mediate this effect. We propose that gratitude expressions can enhance prosocial behavior through both agentic and communal mechanisms, such that when helpers are thanked for their efforts, they experience stronger feelings of self-efficacy and social worth, which motivate them to engage in prosocial behavior. In Experiments 1 and 2, receiving a brief written expression of gratitude motivated helpers to assist both the beneficiary who expressed gratitude and a different beneficiary. These effects of gratitude expressions were mediated by perceptions of social worth and not by self-efficacy or affect. In Experiment 3, we constructively replicated these effects in a field experiment: A manager’s gratitude expression increased the number of calls made by university fundraisers, which was mediated by social worth but not self-efficacy. In Experiment 4, a different measure of social worth mediated the effects of an interpersonal gratitude expression. Our results support the communal perspective rather than the agentic perspective: Gratitude expressions increase prosocial behavior by enabling individuals to feel socially valued.

Keywords: gratitude, prosocial behavior, helping, agency and communion, social worth

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We are better pleased to see those on whom we confer benefits than those from whom we receive them. —La Rochefoucauld, Maxims Gratitude is omnipresent in social life. People feel grateful when they benefit from gifts, assistance, kindness, help, favors, and support from others (Tesser, Gatewood, & Driver, 1968). Grateful feelings have several beneficial effects: They enable individuals to savor positive experiences, cope with stressful circumstances, and strengthen social relationships (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005). Psychological research highlights the benefits of gratitude as a trait, demonstrating that dispositional gratitude is associated with higher levels of subjective well-being (McCullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2004), and as a state, demonstrating that the act of counting one’s blessings can increase positive emotions, subjective well-being, and health (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Behaviorally, gratitude is a prosocial trait and state: It motivates individuals to engage in prosocial behaviors to reciprocate the assistance they receive from others (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006; Tsang, 2006).  Although research provides valuable insights into beneficiaries’ experiences of gratitude, it offers less information about how beneficiaries’ expressions of gratitude affect helpers. Because gratitude is, by definition, a social emotion produced in social exchanges (McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons, & Larson, 2001), it is critical to examine how gratitude affects both partners in social exchanges. Toward this end, a number of studies have provided initial evidence that gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior

(for a review, see McCullough et al., 2001). However, little research has been done to examine why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior. Through what psychological processes does being thanked lead to higher levels of helping?

We address this question by drawing on the classic distinction between agency and communion. Psychologists have long argued that individuals have basic motives to feel both agentic, or personally competent and capable, and communal, or connected to

and valued by others (Bakan, 1966; McAdams & de St. Aubin, 1992; Wiggins, 1979). We compare the agentic and communal mechanisms that may mediate the effects of gratitude expressions on prosocial behavior. From an agentic perspective, expressions of gratitude may enhance helpers’ feelings of self-efficacy, which will motivate them to engage in prosocial behavior by reducing their feelings of uncertainty about whether they can help effectively. From a communal perspective, expressions of gratitude may enhance helpers’ feelings of social worth, which will motivate them to engage in prosocial behavior by reducing their feelings of uncertainty about whether their help will be valued by beneficiaries. Across four experiments, we compare these agentic and communal mechanisms to explain why gratitude expressions increase prosocial behavior.

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