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u10d1 Chi Square Research Question

Identify a research question from your professional life, research interests, or everyday
experience that interests you and could be addressed by a Chi Square. Describe the variables,
expected frequencies, and the experimental-null hypotheses. Indicate why a Chi Square would be
the appropriate analysis for this research question.
According to Howell (2008), the chi-square test is a statistical test used for categorical data or
discrete, nominal data which represent counts or the number of observations in each category
under investigation. These counts are commonly arranged in a tabular format known as a
contingency table. For this discussion, the contingency table is two dimensional so each
observation is classified on the basis of two variables simultaneously. Therefore, the chi-square
test is designed to test the null hypothesis that there is no association between the rows and
columns of the contingency table or that the observed counts do not deviate from the expected

As mentioned in previous assignments, determining the BMI or Body Mass Index is one of the
key components of the client fitness evaluation process as a personal trainer. This example
might again serve to illustrate the use of a chi-square test by comparing the BMI reduction rate
between two independent randomly selected groups of obese high school males, where one
group engaged in anaerobic exercise and the other aerobic exercise.

The concept of which mode of exercise training, anaerobic (resistance training) vs. aerobic
exercise (cardiovascular training), produces a greater reduction of body fat content over time has
often been debated among health and fitness practitioners. The theory of body fat reduction
using anaerobic training stems from the simple concept that building muscle mass naturally
increases the bodys demand for calories and therefore reduces stored fat. This is in contrast to
using only cardiovascular training or aerobics to increase body heat which also increases the
bodys demand for calories thus reducing body fat content. The chi-square test would be
valuable in determining the validity of the anaerobic theory of weight reduction.

There are two specific assumptions that must be met to conduct a chi-square test using
nonparametric data (Howell, 2008): 1) the expected frequencies count should be greater than 5 to
be considered ideal, and 2) each person or item contributes to only one cell of the contingency
table to be meaningful. This should be established by the frequencies of the cross tabulation
table and through researcher analysis of the independence of observations within the study.

The two groups would each engage in a 10 week training cycle of different exercise modules and
afterwards a BMI measurement would be taken to determine which training module produced
the greatest weight reduction according to the BMI score. The variables of interest would be the
interval and continuous dependent variable of BMI scores, and the nominal, discrete independent
variables of the aerobic and anaerobic training regimens. The significance level would be
= .05 and degrees of freedom for a 2 x 2 table would be 1.

The research question for such a study would be: Is there a difference between aerobic and
anaerobic training regimens in reducing BMI scores among male obese high school students?
The null and alternate hypothesis would read as follows: H0 = There is no significant difference
between aerobic and anaerobic training regimens in reducing BMI scores among male obese
high school students?, and Ha = There is a significant difference between aerobic and anaerobic
training regimens in reducing BMI scores among male obese high school students?
Anthony Rhodes
General Psychology PhD


Howell, D.C. (2008). Fundamental statistics for the behavioral sciences (6th ed.). Belmont, CA:
Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN: 9780495099000