Software psychology and the computerisation of the weighted application blank : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study investigated the use of a Weighted Application Blank (WAB) for selecting candidates likely to pass the first year of a comprehensive nursing course. A subject pool of 415 comprehensive nursing course applicants was drawn from 1980 to 1985 first year Polytechnic classes. A discriminant analysis on the application form responses made by these subjects was performed. Computer software was then developed incorporating results from Human Factors research. The software aimed to computerise the WAB method of classifying applicants following principles of software psychology. A group of 50 computer naive subjects participated in an experimental evaluation of the software. Five subjects took part in initial pilot study trials of the software. The remaining 45 subjects' were divided into three equally sized groups. The subjects task was to enter eight sets of nursing course application form data. The "computerised" group received instructions on how to do this from the screen, the "written" group from a manual and the "verbal" group verbally from the experimenter. Time taken to complete the task and the number of errors made were recorded. Three ANOVAs were performed to establish if group exerted an influence on trial times or error rates. In addition, applicants were required to complete two questionnaires. The first prior to the experimental trials and the second following them. Results indicated that group influenced time taken on the task (F(1,294) = 7.43, p<.001). Group did not exert an influence on errors made on each question (F(32,672) = 1.022, p>.05). The interaction between errors made on each application form and group was significant (F(14,294) = 2.809,p<.001) however the main effect for group of this comparison was insignificant (F(2,294) = 0.045, p>.05). Responses to the questionnaires were evaluated and an assessment was made of the responses. It was concluded that the fields of human­ computer interface design and personnel selection had been successfully combined. Leading to the expectation that an area of great research potential had been opened up.
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