# Data analysis – why isn’t there any significance!?!

Mood: hug me
Now Playing: Nothin’ but the Wheel (Patty Loveless)

I have been bogged down (or trapped) in doing my quantitative data analysis. I can’t find anything special or significant about anything really. So, that is a bit depressing.

When I check overall statistical differences at a higher level (multivariate analysis) – I can’t find anything of real interest (well when I say anything of real interest I mean with respect to the boxes). When I look at the mean scores in terms of explanations that is being elicited for the boxes there seems to be a difference but when I run an ANOVA there isn’t any (the glass-box seems to have low maths explanations and high real explanations).

I do think I just need to double-check my consistency in scoring explanations  for the answers given – because when I was doing it I didn’t have a rubric as I did when I was scoring the marks. Since I scored the explanations on about 3 separate occasions with some weeks apart I just want to make sure there is some consistency. I think I need to develop a rubric and determine what I mean by real-life explanations and what I mean by mathematical explanation and what can be scored or not because I remember when I was scoring I did change the scores for some students I did previously which implies to me I don’t have a clear idea what it should be. Probably I should do it now since I’m in a writing frame of mind. Although the truth is in scoring these two explanations I do get confused for example one of the students (Participant 2) said for Problem 1C:

More soldiers would be sold as this means that the price of trains would have increased and the company would now have to make more soldiers

I mean this implies to me they’re explaining this from real-life since their explanation was definitely not based on any maths they previously calculated but using the word ‘increase‘ implies that is also mathematically motivated in some ways. I guess I’ll be turning to discourse analysis – I need to make clear how to categorize these or I would end up in a lot of trouble. In this particular case, I had only classify it as a real-life explanation.

Hmm … wonder what the criteria would be for real-life explanations and mathematical explanations – I know sometimes an answer can be scored as both but just want to make sure I have it clear in my mind. Ok – let me make a rubric now.

Mathematical Explanations

For mathematical explanations I think the following should hold true, the student has to have:

• Written a mathematical equation e.g. 2x + 3y = 20
• Used inequalities or equalities to help the explanation e.g. x<=20; y =5; x is greater than y. That is they must say something like “Since x<=20 and y=5  then ….” – in other words an argument has to be ensued from writing it in this way
• Calculated a value or some indication of calculating a value e.g. z will be negative; 40-20 = 20; x approaches infinity; no change to x and y
• Cannot be when student’s rewrite numbers that have been previously calculated e.g. number of chairs produced = 20
• Cannot be counted as a mathematical explanation when they explored except when it is written in the answer sheet to indicate they have explored and give an explanation as one of the above.

Real-Life Explanations

Mathematical explanations were somewhat easy to define – let’s see if I could do a real-life explanations – it seems to me my idea of real-life explanations tend to be the obscure explanations but explanations that seem to draw from life-experiences. Ok, real-life explanations are when:

•  Not based on any explicit maths such as numbers or equations but using rules of thumb or heuristics that is commonplace such as “increasing production would increase profit”
• Drawing to conclusions without testing any maths but rather what they ‘feel’ might be true e.g. “the demand is too low to have any production”
• Drawing from their own feelings or experience on how the manufacturing world works e.g. “this would not be economical”