The appropriate use of null hypothesis testing.

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The many criticisms of null hypothesis testing suggest when it is not useful and what is should not be used for. This article explores when and why its use is appropriate. Null hypothesis testing is insufficient when size of effect is important, but it is ideal for testing ordinal claims relating the order of conditions, which are common in psychology. Null hypothesis testing also is insufficient for determining beliefs, but it is ideal for demonstrating sufficient evidential strength to support an ordinal claim, with sufficient evidence being 1 criterion for a finding entering the corpus of legitimate findings in psychology. The line between sufficient and insufficient evidence is currently set at p < .05; there is little reason for allowing experimenters to select their own value of alpha. Thus null hypothesis testing is an optimal method for demonstrating sufficient evidence for an ordinal claim.

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Type of resources: Primary Source, Reading

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

Primary user(s): Student

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

Language(s): English