I have written my method section but I am not sure if I am clear enough or if there are mistakes. I have proof read but need a different set of eyes to take a look at it. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions. I am specifically having trouble explaining counterbalancing.Method
Sixteen undergraduate students (eight females, eight males, age range: 19-22 years) from a psychology research methods course at University of California Los Angeles participated in this study. They were required to participate in order to receive course credit. All participants had normal vision and hearing.Design
A 2x2 within-subjects design was used for this experiment. The independent variables were method of presentation and recording method. One level of the method of presentation was audio in which a word was presented acoustically by a computer generated female voice. The second level was text in that a word was presented textually on a power point slide. One level of the recording method was writing in that a word was printed down on an index card and the second level was typing in which a word was typed down on a power point slide. The dependent variable was the number of words correctly recalled and it was measured on a ratio scale.Materials
A random word generator was used to compile a list of 20 very common nouns (Appendix A). Each word was two syllables. The list of nouns was divided into four groups (e.g A, B, C, and D) of five words. Each list of words was counterbalanced across each condition (e.g audio and typing, audio and writing, text and typing, and text and writing) in order to control for sequence and order effects. This kept any one list from being used in one condition constantly or a certain list being used more than once in a pair of conditions.
A 2007 Microsoft PowerPoint presentation was used to conduct the study. Sixteen unique PowerPoint presentations were made. The method of presentation was manipulated by having each condition presented as audio or as text. Each list of words was introduced acoustically or textually. A female voice in a text to speech application was used to make a sound file. When words were presented acoustically a sound file was used as a transition sound when a new slide appeared. When words were shown textually, each word was typed on a separate PowerPoint slide in lowercase letters with a Calibri font in a letter size of 72-point type. Printed out instructions were used to demonstrate how to print or type a word. The recording method was manipulated by having a word be written or typed. When a word was written, it was printed on an index card. When a word was typed, it was typed in a text box in a PowerPoint slide. Instructions explaining what the participants were expected to do were put on a slide before each condition was attempted.
There were a total of 31 slides and each PowerPoint presentation lasted approximately 10 minutes. A demographic questionnaire with 10 questions was used as a distracter at the end of the PowerPoint presentation to allow some time to pass before instructing the participants to free recall. The dependent variable was measured on a ratio scale by counting the number of words correctly recalled by each participant.Procedure
Before the study began each computer was loaded with all sixteen PowerPoint presentations. To control for order effects each list of words was used in each condition in a different order in each presentation. The order in which the conditions were seen was also counterbalanced to keep each condition from appearing at a certain time constantly.
When all participants were seated, we handed out instructions that were stapled to the demographic questionnaire and an envelope with 10 index cards. Participants were told to locate their PowerPoint presentation number at the upper right hand corner of the instruction sheet and to open the document that had the same number as the one given to them. All participants were then told to press F5. Once each computer had a blank blue slide on the screen we advised them to refer to the instruction sheet in front of them. Participants were then told that they would be instructed to either print or type a word during the study. The instruction sheet had pictures with captions demonstrating what they would need to do when they printed or typed a word. When they were instructed to print a word they were to hand write the word on a clean index card and flip the card over to the side once they were done. The instruction sheet said that once all 10 index cards were used they were not to look back at the cards. When they were instructed to type a word they were to click on the text box located at the bottom of the PowerPoint slide and type the word. The instruction sheet said that once they finished typing the word down they were to wait for the next slide to appear. When we finished going over the instructions, we asked if they had any questions before they began.
All participants were told to take out a writing utensil and a headset. If they did not have a headset one was provided for them. We made sure every participants headset and volume was working properly. Once everything was fine they were all told to begin the study by pressing the enter key. Every PowerPoint presentation had a set of instructions that was shown for ten seconds before each condition was attempted. The instructions informed them that they would be hearing/seeing several words: one word at a time. They were instructed to print/type each word they heard/saw. If they were told to print a word they were reminded that only one index card could be used per word and if they were told to type a word they were reminded that there would be a separate slide with a text box for each word. Each slide that had a text box had a sentence above it reminding the participant to click on the box in order to type the word. After reading the set of instructions for a condition there was a slide with a sentence in the middle reminding them that they were to print/type the word they just heard/saw. The participants were given five seconds to hear or see a word (presented in the middle of the slide) and they were immediately after given ten seconds to either print or type the word. Since there were four conditions to be tested there was a total of four different sets of instructions in each PowerPoint Presentation.
Once the participants had finished going through all the conditions, there was a slide that instructed them to put all their index cards in the envelope given to them. They were then told to flip to the second page of their instruction packet and complete the questionnaire. They were given one minute to complete it. The questionnaire was used as a distracter task. Once a minute had passed a very bright slide appeared instructed them to stop what they were doing and go to the back page of the questionnaire where they were to write down as many words as they could recall from the study. They were given five minutes to free recall. When the study was completed all the instruction packets and envelopes were collected, and the participants received course credit.