Training Structural Awareness with StatHand: A 1 Year Follow-Up

Peter J Allen*, Jessica L Fielding, Annabel Westermann, Amelia Lafratta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Background: Allen, Fielding, East, et al. (2020) demonstrated experimentally that structural awareness, or the ability to disregard a research problem’s topic and instead focus on its structural features, can be trained using StatHand ( Most training benefits persisted for one week.

Objective: The objective was to assess the longer-term effects of training.

Method: One year after training (or control activities), 54 participants were re-administered five measures of structural awareness and one statistic selection measure.

Results: Trained participants continued to reliably out-perform control participants on four measures of structural awareness, though no longer on the fifth. Over the year, decrements in trained participants’ performance on the five structural awareness measures were mostly small. However, one year after training, the trained participants’ statistic selection advantage had largely disappeared.

Conclusion: Brief structural awareness training can have long-term benefits, though selecting an appropriate statistical test for common research scenarios without assistance remains a difficult task.

Teaching Implications: Structural awareness can be trained. However, even structurally aware students cannot reliably select appropriate statistics without assistance. Training plus easy access to a decision-making aid should maximize statistic selection accuracy. Our evidence-based training methods and materials, including StatHand, can be freely used and adapted for these purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalTeaching of Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date21 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • instructional technology
  • statistics
  • research methods


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