Testing and Analysing Moderation in Research Study – Things to Do

Research is the process of exploring new things by adopting new strategies and forming new theories. In this way, it mostly starts by taking broader things into consideration and with the advent of new theories; the researchers start delving deeper into the process to get other minor details. Testing and analysing different facts and theories is one of the most important tasks to achieve the aims of the research. Due to the availability of a broad spectrum of the data analysis process, selecting an appropriate analysis method for solving a given scientific mystery really needs attention. Thus, the article will be a brief guide for testing and analysing moderation in a research study- a method of analysing relationship between different variables.

What is moderation in a research study?

Variables are the ever-changing factors that influence the outcomes of a process understudy. To understand the process or a situation, finding relationships between the factors affecting it is the most common method. However, the variables are of two types, namely dependent and independent variables. As suggested by their name, the independent variable is the one that is not influenced by other variables; in contrast, the dependent variables change either directly or inversely as the magnitude of the independent variable changes. Testing and analysis aim to find the relationship between both of these types of variables.

Sometimes, another situation arises while testing and analysing the relationship between the dependent and independent variables; that is, these variables are affected by third-party variables. The third-party variables are called moderator variables. Having knowledge about how the moderator variables affect the relationship between previously described variables (dependent or independent) is important as it can change the direction as well as strengths of their relationships. The method of testing the moderator variables in a research study is called moderation. Testing and analysing moderation needs students to do many things.

Types of moderator variables:

The moderator variables are of many types. It is the nature of your study that describes what will be best for a specific research design. It can be expressed in observable trait and unobservable trait form. For example, in the corporate reputation case study, it can be in service-type variables or categorical variables. However, in medical sciences, it can be some unseen environmental factor. 

Testing and analysing moderation:

Moderation in science can be done in a variety of ways. But linear multiple regression analysis is the most important method to research. However, hypothesising and conceptualising a moderating relationship is also an important step in testing and analysing moderation.

Ways to hypothesise and conceptualise the moderating relationship:

The testing and analysing moderation cannot be done without hypothesising the relationship between moderating variables. Thereby to do so, you must follow the following seven simple steps:

  1. Find the theory explaining the direct and moderating effects
  2.  Application of selected theory to answer the research question
  3. Give an explanation of the moderate variable effect
  4. Clarify how the dependent variable is influenced by the moderator variable’s direct effect
  5. Explain how the moderator variable alters the mechanism of another study by weakening or strengthening the relationship between the dependent and independent variable
  6. Try to find out the theoretical basis of how the independent variables can reverse the interaction between the dependent and moderator variables
  7. Interpret and report the results in light of the selected theory 

These steps explain all the basics of testing and analysing moderation in a research study. However, the steps can be altered and modified as per the requirements of the research design that you want to pursue. However, if you want to perform moderation on a dissertation or other small tasks, then you can also seek Masters Dissertation Help from some senior data analyst.

Reporting and analysing moderation effect:

The core purpose of analysing moderation effect is to measure the dependence of dependent variables on independent variables as a function of the moderator. The approach and tools or statistical package used for analysing moderation effects are important to take into consideration while conducting moderation analysis. SPSS is one of the most common statistical packages used by social sciences students for revealing the behavioural relationship between cultural, societal and other variables. The following is a brief description of the steps of using SPSS to analyse the behavioural changes as well.    

  1. Import data to the sample data set in SPSS.
  2. Use standardised values for all variables (label them)
  3. Use the ‘compute variable option’ and calculate the interaction term
  4. Apply linear regression analysis to find the relationship between them
  5. Interpret results by using the statistical difference value (p-value)

 Final Thoughts:

After all is said and done, we can say that testing and analysing moderation in the research study helps researchers to calculate the effect of even the factors that do not apparently affect the outcomes. Analysing moderation is a quantitative method of analysis that can easily be performed by SPSS and other statistical analysis packages. 

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