Better P-curves: Making P-curve Analysis More Robust to Errors, Fraud, and Ambitious P-hacking, a Reply to Ulrich and Miller (2015)

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When studies examine true effects, they generate right-skewed p-curves, distributions of statistically significant results with more low (.01 s) than high (.04 s) p values. What else can cause a right-skewed p-curve? First, we consider the possibility that researchers report only the smallest significant p value (as conjectured by Ulrich & Miller, 2015), concluding that it is a very uncommon problem. We then consider more common problems, including (a) p-curvers selecting the wrong p values, (b) fake data, (c) honest errors, and (d) ambitiously p-hacked (beyond p < .05) results. We evaluate the impact of these common problems on the validity of p-curve analysis, and provide practical solutions that substantially increase its robustness.

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Type of resources: Primary Source, Reading, Paper

Education level(s): College / Upper Division (Undergraduates)

Primary user(s): Student

Subject area(s): Applied Science, Math & Statistics, Social Science

Language(s): English