The Persistence of Underpowered Studies in Psychological Research: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies

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Underpowered studies persist in the psychological literature. This article examines reasons for their persistence and the effects on efforts to create a cumulative science. The “curse of multiplicities” plays a central role in the presentation. Most psychologists realize that testing multiple hypotheses in a single study affects the Type I error rate, but corresponding implications for power have largely been ignored. The presence of multiple hypothesis tests leads to 3 different conceptualizations of power. Implications of these 3 conceptualizations are discussed from the perspective of the individual researcher and from the perspective of developing a coherent literature. Supplementing significance tests with effect size measures and confidence intervals is shown to address some but not necessarily all problems associated with multiple testing

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Type of resources: Primary Source, Reading, Paper

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

Primary user(s): Student, Teacher

Subject area(s): Applied Science, Social Science

Language(s): English