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Funding for app designed to improve students’ research skills

Media release

A team of researchers from Curtin University has received funding for a project that will harness mobile technologies to help build students’ statistical decision-making capacities.

Dr Frank Baughman, Researcher and Lecturer in Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, said students were known to struggle with selecting the appropriate statistical tests or procedures for different types of data, research questions and hypotheses, throughout their degree.

“Quantitative research methods are an important component of most tertiary degrees, yet they are also an area of weakness for many students. As a result, we have undertaken a project, titled ‘StatTree’, to develop an innovative cross-platform mobile application that will facilitate statistical decision-making,” Dr Baughman said.

“The application, along with its companion website, will guide users through a series of simple questions to help them conduct, interpret and report a statistical test or procedure that is appropriate to their study.

The researchers will develop and freely disseminate StatTree nationally and internationally through links with educators and publishers, and via presentations and publications.

The app will be used in the teaching of research methods at four national universities and its effectiveness evaluated.

“The app will train students on how to ask the right kinds of questions. This will make the process of determining correct statistical tests more straightforward, and ultimately will lead to a better treatment of data.”

The StatTree application will be developed for the iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android mobile platforms and distributed free through Apple iTunes, Google Play and other Android stores.

The Australian Office for Learning and Teaching provided the $161,000 funding for the project which will commence in September 2013.

The research, led by Peter Allen at Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, will be conducted in collaboration with The Australian National University, The University of New England, and The University of Queensland.