Once I had my hypotheses (plural of hypothesis), it was time to design a study. That means figuring out the best way to find evidence that my guesses were correct.
One of the perks of being a college student is that you may get to participate in psychological research, which is lots of fun.
I had 52 college students, mostly freshmen, participate in my research. They each filled out the 6 chosen questionnaires about their family life. Here is some brief information about each questionnaire.
#1 The Family Organized Cohesiveness Scale (FOC) has 13 statements on it that measure family organization. Students responded using a Likert scale. A Likert scale gives students a range of responses. For this questionnaire students could choose from Strongly Agree, meaning that they strongly agree with the statement, to Strongly Disagree. In-between those extremes, students could choose, Agree, Mildly Agree, Mildly Disagree, or Disagree. Lots of choices...maybe too many, but I didn't write this measure, I just used it as it had been written. It's been used successfully before. Here are some sample statements that the students answered:
"It is easy to know who the leader is in our family." "In our family, everyone knows what is expected of them."
#2 The Family Problem Solving Communication Scale (FPSC)has 10 statements that measure both positive & negative communication patterns. This questionnaire also uses a Likert scale but answer options are False, Mostly False, True, or Mostly True. Sample statements are: "We yell and scream at each other." "We take the time to hear what each other has to say or feel."
#3 The Chaos, Order, And Hubbub Scale (CHAOS) has 15 statements, and is used to measure noise, confusion and clutter in a home. (It's important to note that this scale does NOT cover all possible definitions of chaos.) This may be the first research that used the entire scale with a 4-point Likert response choice. This scale also used True or False options, like the FPSC. Sample statements are:
"We can usually find things when we need them." "It's a real zoo in our home." "Our home is a good place to relax."
#4 The Family Times and Routines Index (FTRI) measured how families spent their time and organized their routines. This was the longest questionnaire, with 32 statements, again using a Likert scale. Sample statements include: "Children go to bed at the same time almost every night." "Children do regular household chores." "Mother does regular household chores."
#5 The Family Adaptation Scale (FAS) measures a family's ability to adapt to its environment with 10 statements using a Likert scale.
#6 The Family Emotional Involvement Scale (FEICS) was the last family measure participants answered. It has 10 statements that examine the emotional involvement and perceived criticism among family members.
When I gave my participants the questionnaires I told them it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes to fill them all out. I stressed to them the importance of not reading into the statements, and answering them truthfully.
Now, for the moment of truth...What do those measures tell us about communication, routines, organization, and chaos? "Turn the page" to Results...