Calculating and reporting effect sizes to facilitate cumulative science: a practical primer for t-tests and ANOVAs

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Effect sizes are the most important outcome of empirical studies. Most articles on effect sizes highlight their importance to communicate the practical significance of results. For scientists themselves, effect sizes are most useful because they facilitate cumulative science. Effect sizes can be used to determine the sample size for follow-up studies, or examining effects across studies. This article aims to provide a practical primer on how to calculate and report effect sizes for t-tests and ANOVA’s such that effect sizes can be used in a-priori power analyses and meta-analyses. Whereas many articles about effect sizes focus on between-subjects designs and address within-subjects designs only briefly, I provide a detailed overview of the similarities and differences between within- and between-subjects designs. I suggest that some research questions in experimental psychology examine inherently intra-individual effects, which makes effect sizes that incorporate the correlation between measures the best summary of the results. Finally, a supplementary spreadsheet is provided to make it as easy as possible for researchers to incorporate effect size calculations into their workflow.

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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, Social Science

Language(s): English