Course Home

About this Site

While this site is designed for a particular purpose -- Dr. Ray's sections of Research in Human Relations as taught at OU-Tulsa -- others are encouraged to make use of these resources. Please see the page on About Fair Uuse.

This site makes use of advanced web technology. Users should be sure to have the most recent version of their web browser; also not all operating systems are supported. For more information see the About Technology page.

Revisions as of May, 2017

The course associated with this website has evolved over time. Originally, the course used hand-held calculators to perform the statistical tests. The course has gradually transitioned away from calculators to using spreadsheets. This has reduced student stress and improved student learning, since it is now possible to focus more on the underlying research concepts and less on "getting the numbers" right. In addition, because the analysis is now available at the push of a button, we've been able to add some topics to the course. Significant among these are:
  1. an expanded discussion of research ethics and human subjects research;
  2. an expanded discussion on formulating research questions and hypotheses;
  3. an expanded discussion of reliability and validity;
  4. an expanded discussion on sample construction;
  5. an expanded discussion of survey construction, including Cronbach's alpha;
  6. adding multiple regression; and
  7. adding two-way ANOVA and discussing the connection between ANOVA and multiple regression;

These are important additions that would not have previously been possible when students were struggling with the complexities of statistical calculations using hand-held calculators.

About Using Excel

Our approach is inspired by the website Real Statistics Using Excel. As the author of that website, Dr. Charles Zaiontz, notes, there are good reasons for using Excel. The advantages over hand-held calculators are surely obvious. There are other reasons as well. One is the wide-spread availability and familiarity of Excel, and other is cost.

It's true that there are integrated software packages which are specialized to do statistical analysis. These packages are available at most research universities and many other large organizations. However, they require learning the interface to a new software package and understanding the sometimes opaque output which is designed for professional researchers.

Most students enrolled in statistics courses won't ever be active researchers, however. They will almost certainly instead need to be consumers of peer-reviewed research in support of their professional practice. Thus, it's incumbent on the courses we offer these students to focus learning and understanding the basics needed for informed consumption of statistical research. Excel can produce specially designed outputs that provide only the most essential calculations can therefore focus and enhance student learning. Further, Excel, by being a familiar business tool, removes the barrier of learning a completely new software platform.

The second point, cost, is also important. Most workplaces and many households have Excel already, so the spreadsheets for this course will continue to be available after graduation. In contrast, specialized stand-alone programs are often more expensive than the entire Office Suite and not nearly as many organizations will have purchased licenses. Most particularly, the social service agencies on tight budgets. where Human Relations graduates are likely to work are unlikely to have such specialized software. Access is surely an important factor to consider.

Our purpose with our Human Relations course has not been to prepare researchers, however. Our goal is prepare Human Relations professionals to read and evaluate the peer-reviewed literature in their chosen field in support of their professional practice. Thus, we have glossed over--but not ignored--the theoretical basis for the tests and focused instead on understanding methods and applications.

About Legacy Features on This Site

Some of the original course design using hand-held caclulators continues to survive in certain elements of these pages. In addition to the updated and expanded lecture notes and the spreadsheets, this site includes two additional learning opportunities available via the tabs above.

The research concepts pages can still serve as both an introduction to and a summary of concepts covered in greater detail in the lectures.

The learning modules are the primary places where the influence of the older course versions are most apparent. These were primarily built to give students a step-by-step rubric for using their calculators.. However, with advent of wide-spread availability of Excel and the additions to its built-in analysis tools, it is no longer necessary for anyone to resort to hand-held calculators.  

Over the last decade, the instructor's approach has gradually relied more and more on exploiting the built-in tools available in Excel.  The current version of his course fully engages this new strategy.

The online learning modules on this website can still be useful, but their step-by-step rubric for doing the calculations is no longer relevant.  Instead, students can simply enter the data into the spreadsheet FORMULAS.XLSX and copy the calculations from there to the prompts in the modules.  

The reason to go through the modules--to practice with the concepts in diverse examples--is still a valid one.  However, the current version of the instructor's HR Research Methods course has added "end-of-section" spreadsheet assignments with exactly this practice in mind.  The end-of-section assignments are, in fact, superior to those in the older "interactive learning modules," since they include questions about formulating research questions and hypotheses as well as simply doing calculations. These assignments are available to instructors using this site on request.

FInally, the study guide continues to be available, although the instructor no longer recommends that it be used. The material is now covered more completely in the updated lecture notes.

About the Biographies

The site includes a small repository of biographies of mathematicians, statisticians, and human relations researchers who have contributed in some way the statistical and research methods used in this course. Some of the biographies have been contributed by students. If you have a biography you'd like have included, or would like to link to the biographies, please write to the site owner.

Tulsa Graduate College

Text and code copyright © 2005, William Ray
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Rights for non-commercial use are freely granted provided that this copyright notice is included.

Commercial users please contact the author at the above email address for licensing information. This software is provided "as-is" with no warranties, expressed or implied.

This program is subject to the GNU general public license as described in