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5 Reasons Psychology Degree Programs Include Courses in Statistics

When you enroll in college, you’ll usually find that you need to take at least one or two classes on statistics in psychology as an undergraduate. The grades you receive in these courses can have a serious impact on how well you perform in later classes, which is why you should look at the importance of statistics classes.

Necessary for Future Classes

One reason these programs require that students take statistics in psychology courses is because you will need to the skills you develop in those classes later. Experimental design is a course that teaches you how to design your own experiments, test variables and come up with conclusions, and you’ll need a basic understanding of statistics when designing an experiment. You’ll also need those skills when taking a class on research methods, which looks at how psychologists conduct research. According to Jeremy Miles, you’ll also need an understanding of statistics to work as a research assistant in grad school.

Effectively Organize Information

When you conduct your own experiment, you need to look at different variables to determine the effects that those variables have on your subjects. Those variables are a form of statistical data. The statistics classes that you take help you learn how to effectively organize your information and data in a way that you can follow and that others can understand. You’ll also learn how to keep accurate records of all your experiments and any changes you make through new types of computer software.

Analyze Information

It is nearly impossible to analyze data in a psychology course without first taking a few statistics in psychology classes. When you look at a topic like how music impacts sleep, you need to keep records of what type of music you played, how long you played that music, what type you played it and the responses from your subjects. You’ll need to know how to weed out variables that had no impact on the study and how to show which variables impacted your subjects, which you can only do with statistical methods.

Base Conclusions on Data

Coming up with a conclusion is the primary point of conducting an experiment. Before you start your research, you need to come up with a hypothesis that states what you think will happen. You will then use your data and information to either back up your hypothesis or prove that your hypothesis was wrong. Statistics in psychology courses teach you how to create a conclusion based on the evidence you gathered or found.

Create Surveys

A field of psychology that might interest you is one that focuses on creating surveys that you send out to others. Some psychologists work for advertising agencies that help companies get information and feedback from customers, but you may also work for the government and send out surveys to find out more about general populations. Statistics classes can help you learn how to write effective surveys and to analyze the data that you get back. You need to know how to write neutral questions that will not sway those responding to the survey. Any personal bias you put into a survey can significantly changes the responses that you get. You’ll also learn how to use the answers from a smaller population to determine how a larger population might feel.

Psychology programs require a lot of research on the part of students, and you’ll find that you need to take one or more statistics classes too. The statistics in psychology courses that you take have a major impact on your future work and teach you how to organize and analyze data.

 

See also: Top 25 Online Master’s in Educational Psychology 2016

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