Mindless statistics

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Statistical rituals largely eliminate statistical thinking in the social sciences. Rituals are indispensable for identification with social groups, but they should be the subject rather than the procedure of science. What I call the “null ritual” consists of three steps: (1) set up a statistical null hypothesis, but do not specify your own hypothesis nor any alternative hypothesis, (2) use the 5% significance level for rejecting the null and accepting your hypothesis, and (3) always perform this procedure. I report evidence of the resulting collective confusion and fears about sanctions on the part of students and teachers, researchers and editors, as well as textbook writers.

Link to resource: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2004.09.033

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