Open Dialogue peer review: A response to Gorard The widespread abuse of statistics by researchers: What is the problem and what is the ethical way forward?

Victor Van Daal

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Abstract

The paper presents and illustrates two areas of widespread abuse of statistics in social science research. The first is the use of techniques based on random sampling but with cases that are not random and often not even samples. The second is that even where the use of such techniques meets the assumptions for use, researchers are almost universally reporting the results incorrectly. Significance tests and confidence intervals cannot answer the kinds of analytical questions most researchers want to answer. Once their reporting is corrected, the use of these techniques will almost certainly cease completely. There is nothing to replace them with but there is no pressing need to replace them anyway. As this paper illustrates, removing the erroneous elements in the analysis is usually sufficient improvement (to enable readers to judge claims more fairly). Without them it is hoped that analysts will focus rather more on the meaning and limitations of their numeric results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-23
JournalPsychology of Education Review
Volume38
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2014

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