Monday, October 11, 2010

The Cult of Statistical Significance

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post of the above title.

The abstract reads:


ABSTRACT: Math-Teach's Domenico Rosa has called attention to the review of Ziliak & McCloskey's (2008) Cult of Statistical Significance by Olle Häggström (2010). According to Häggström, Ziliak & McCloskey's major point is that "many researchers are so obsessed with statistical significance that they neglect to ask themselves whether the detected discrepancies are large enough to be of any subject-matter significance." Consistent with that outlook, in "Lessons from the Physics Education Reform Effort" [Hake (2002)] I cited the position of many psychologists and biologists that the "effect size" is a preferred alternative (or at least addition) to the usually inappropriate t-tests and p values associated with "Null Hypothesis Statistical Significance Testing" (NHSST). Nevertheless, many educational researchers (even some physicists) still utilize only NHSST to gauge the significance of their research results.


To access the complete 14 kB post please click on .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University

Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands

President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the

Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)>

"After 4 decades of severe criticism, the ritual of null hypothesis significance testing - mechanical dichotomous decisions around a sacred 0.05 criterion - still persists."

-Jacob Cohen (1994) in "The earth is round (p less than 0.05)"

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by ]

Hake, R.R. 2010. "The Cult of Statistical Significance," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 10 Oct 2010 19:34:16-0700 to AERA-L, Math-Teach, & Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are also being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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