What are the strengths and limitations of the study?

You are asked to write the Discussion, Abstract and References sections of your DE100 project report. Guidance for each section is provided below, followed by instructions about how to submit the complete DE100 project report:
As you read in Chapter 7, Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 of Investigating Methods, the Discussion is the concluding section of a research report, in which the authors of a study interpret and give meaning to the results, draw conclusions from the findings, relate them back to the theories and research presented in the Introduction, and consider the limitations and strengths of the study.
From Online Activity 24.1: DE100 project – Introduction, Discussion and Abstract, you learned that the Introduction and Discussion are not stand-alone entities: they are sections of a report that need to ‘speak’ to each other. Bear this in mind as you write the Discussion. Before you start, you may want to revisit Online Activity 24.1, and refresh your memory of the Introduction section which you completed as part of that activity. Also, once you have completed the Discussion, read through both to ensure that they are consistent, and that they tell the same ‘story’ about the DE100 project.
Relevant material
Material relevant to completing this part of the assignment can be found in several chapters of Investigating Methods.
Chapter 7, Section 3.3, contains extracts of the Discussion from Bakheit et al. (2007) and outlines the requirements for a Discussion section.
Chapter 8, Section 3.3, contains an extract from the Discussion section of Nelson et al. (2011).
Chapter 9, Section 3, contains the complete Discussion section of the Loftus and Palmer (1974) study; Section 4 is also relevant as it summarises the content of a Discussion section, and the different points it needs to cover.
A number of online activities which you completed in previous weeks are also relevant.
Online Activity 24.1: DE100 project – Introduction, Discussion and Abstract is especially relevant as it has been designed to prepare you for this assignment.
Online Activity 22.4: DE100 project – Writing the Results section is also especially relevant as this is where you obtained the Results section of the report. You will need to base your discussion on the results reported in this Results section when you write your Discussion section.
You may also want to review the DE100 project Online Activities 13.4: DE100 project – Introduction and 15.2: DE100 project – Procedure, simply to refresh your memory about the project and its different features. This will be especially useful when you come to write about the strengths and limitations of the study.
Collaborative Activity 8 (Part 1): Evaluating the DE100 project should also be a useful source of ideas for evaluating the project.
Note: If you have not completed Online Activity 22.4: DE100 project – Writing the Results section, please do so before you start working on TMA 04. If exceptional circumstances mean that you cannot access this activity, please contact your tutor who will provide you with a Results section, which you should use for the purposes of this assignment. Your Discussion for your TMA must be based on the results from the data provided by the module team, which are also available under the Assessment tab of the module website in the file ‘TMA 04: DE100 Project data’.
Tips for writing your Discussion
A good place to start would be to review Online Activity 24.1: DE100 project – Introduction, Discussion and Abstract and note the different features of the Discussion section and the kind of points that it needs to cover. Chapter 9, Section 4.1 of Investigating Methods is also relevant to this task. Then reread the relevant sections from Investigating Methods, revisit the DE100 project activities, and make notes on the different points that you may wish to make in the Discussion. You may find that something similar to an essay plan would be useful here to help you to decide the best order for the information you want to include.
Remember that the Discussion should start with a clear statement of the results of your study. So you could start by revisiting the Results section which you completed as part of Online Activity 22.4: DE100 project – Writing the Results section. You should have a go at stating the overall findings of the study in plain language, and describe what this means.
Remember to follow the structure of the Discussion set out in Online Activity 24.1 and the checklist below. If you are unsure what information to include in the Discussion, consider the following questions:
How do the findings compare to those of Chen, Lin and Hsiao (2012) and Hollands, Prestwich and Marteau (2011)?
Can the findings be applied beyond the context of advertising? If so, how might they be applied? If not, why not?
What are the strengths and limitations of the study?
How can this research be taken forward?
Important guidance and further tips about completing this assignment can be found in Online Activity 24.1: DE100 project – Introduction, Discussion and Abstract; you should treat that activity as an extension of these notes.
It is worth noting that 750 words is not a lot. This means that you may have to be selective about what you include, especially when it comes to strengths and limitations of the study, or ideas about how it can be taken forward. This is why you will probably need to redraft the Discussion section several times. Make sure you allow enough time for that.
Also, you may want to review the feedback you have received from your tutor for previous TMAs to see if there is any advice that you could apply to this assignment. Although writing the Discussion section to a research report is different from writing an essay, there may be some generic feedback about your writing and communication skills (including referencing) that you would want to consider.
Finally, your Discussion will be both simpler and shorter than the examples you encountered in Investigating Methods. The key thing to remember is that you need to show you have understood what writing a Discussion section to a research report involves, and demonstrate your understanding of the DE100 project.
Discussion checklist
State the results of the experiment in plain language, without citing the actual statistics. Did you find a statistically significant difference between the number of participants who said they liked the DE100 IPTV logo in the experimental condition compared to those in the control condition? Remember to relate this back to the hypothesis and state whether or not it was supported. This is also an opportunity to identify any unexpected results.
Provide an explanation for the results and describe how they compare to other research in the field (as laid out in the Introduction). Do your results support or contradict Chen, Lin and Hsiao’s (2012) and Hollands, Prestwich and Marteau’s (2011) findings about the effectiveness of evaluative conditioning? It may help here to revisit Online Activity 13.4: DE100 project – Introduction, where the rationale for the DE100 project is explained.
Explain how the findings might be applied beyond the study. For example, how do they relate to real-life phenomena? At least a sentence should be included about the implications of the current findings with regards to (a) the wider body of literature on evaluative conditioning and (b) its application (e.g. non-celebrity advertising, branding and logos). For example, do the findings offer support for the application of evaluative conditioning in real-world contexts, or do they suggest its value is limited?
Critically evaluate the study, pointing out its limitations and strengths. It is enough to have one or two of each, given the word-limit constraint. Could the results be interpreted in any other way? For strengths, you might consider consistency, controls, the dependent variable or the stimuli. For limitations, you might consider aspects of the study such as the sample size, sampling, the dependent variable or the stimuli. You must also explain why whatever you have identified is a strength or limitation. How might it have affected the meaning, reliability or validity of the results? You may wish to look back over Collaborative Activity 8 (Part 1): Evaluating the DE100 project for ideas. Where limitations are identified, try to suggest possible solutions. This can then feed into the next point about possible future studies.
Make suggestions for future research. Future research might include adaptations of the same study with a slightly different method to address the limitations you identified in your critical evaluation of the study (see the previous bullet point). Alternatively, you might consider how else participants’ responses could be measured. For example, is there a way of studying their behaviour instead of their verbal responses?
Remember to state the word count at the end of your answer.
When marking the Discussion your tutor will be looking for:
evidence of understanding of the DE100 project and its strengths and limitations
accurate interpretation of research findings and their implications
the ability to follow a logical structure appropriate for the Discussion section of a research report
clear and concise writing and evidence of writing in your own words
the ability to relate the findings to the points made in the Introduction
referencing of sources
keeping within the word limit of 750 words.