Statistical significance testing and cumulative knowledge in psychology: implications for training researchers.

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Data analysis methods in psychology still emphasize statistical significance testing, despite numerous articles demonstrating its severe deficiencies. It is now possible to use meta-analysis to show that reliance on significance testing retards the development of cumulative knowledge. But reform of teaching and practice will also require that researchers learn that the benefits that they believe flow from use of significance testing are illusory. Teachers must revamp their courses to bring students to understand that (a) reliance on significance testing retards the growth of cumulative research knowledge; (b) benefits widely believed to flow from significance testing do not in fact exist; and (c) significance testing methods must be replaced with point estimates and confidence intervals in individual studies and with meta-analyses in the integration of multiple studies. This reform is essential to the future progress of cumulative knowledge in psychological research.

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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): Math & Statistics

Language(s): English