# Applied Research Methods

Review case study and answer questions for each case.

The Case of the Accountants

The president of a large accounting company is required to send employees back to school
each year to catch up on the latest changes to tax laws. Each employee is sent to a two-week school
and then must pass a competency exam showing that they have learned what they need to know. The
president, although realizing the need for ongoing education, has long complained that sending
employees away for two weeks is unproductive. Finally, after years of suffering, he sets out to find a
better way of educating the employees. He soon discovers that several institutions are offering online
versions of the required courses and exclaims: “This is perfect! Now, my employees can work all day
and then study online at night. It’s the best of both worlds”.

While describing his plan to the accounting managers, one of the chief accountants asks the
president if the quality of the online schools is equal that of the traditional schools. “After all,” she says,
“how do we know what we’re getting? Maybe we should investigate this a little further before we
commit all of our accountants to this plan”. The president sees the validity of her argument and comes
up with a plan. “I know what we’ll do. Let’s randomly choose half of our accountants to take the
courses online and the other half can go to the regular schools. Once they come back, we’ll see how
the two groups compare on the competency examination”. The company immediately goes about
setting their plan into action!

1. What is the hypothesis that the company is investigating?

2. What is the independent variable? What are the levels of the independent variables?

3. What is the dependent variable?

4. Which statistical test would the company use to test their hypothesis?

5. For each of the sets of output below, what can you tell about the dependent variable? What
decision would the president make?

Case A:

Variable Group Number Mean Standard Standard Error
in Group Deviation of the Mean

Score Online 10 84.10 5.2377 1.6563

Levene Test t-test for the Equality of Means

SCORE F p t Degrees of 1-tailed p 2-tailed p
value value value Freedom value value

Equal 2.700 0.118
Variances 2.497 18 .011 .022

Assumed

Equal
Variances Not 2.497 15.245 .012 .024

Assumed

Case B:

Variable Group Number Mean Standard Standard Error
in Group Deviation of the Mean
Score Online 10 84.10 5.2377 1.6563

Levene Test t-test for the Equality of Means
SCORE F p t Degrees of 1-tailed p 2-tailed p
value value value Freedom value value

Equal 7.20 .015
Variances .109 18 .4570 .914
Assumed

Equal
Variances Not .109 12.763 .4575 .915

Assumed

Case C:

Variable Group Number Mean Standard Standard Error
in Group Deviation of the Mean
Score Online 10 84.10 5.2377 1.6563