The Significance Test Controversy: A Reader

Front Cover
Denton E. Morrison, Ramon E. Henkel
Transaction Publishers, Oct 30, 2006 - Social Science - 333 pages

Tests of significance have been a key tool in the research kit of behavioral scientists for nearly fifty years, but their widespread and uncritical use has recently led to a rising volume of controversy about their usefulness. This book gathers the central papers in this continuing debate, brings the issues into clear focus, points out practical problems and philosophical pitfalls involved in using the tests, and provides a benchmark from which further analysis can proceed.

The papers deal with some of the basic philosophy of science, mathematical and statistical assumptions connected with significance tests and the problems of the interpretation of test results, but the work is essentially non-technical in its emphasis. The collection succeeds in raising a variety of questions about the value of the tests; taken together, the questions present a strong case for vital reform in test use, if not for their total abandonment in research.

The book is designed for practicing researchers-those not extensively trained in mathematics and statistics that must nevertheless regularly decide if and how tests of significance are to be used-and for those training for research. While controversy has been centered in sociology and psychology, and the book will be especially useful to researchers and students in those fields, its importance is great across the spectrum of the scientific disciplines in which statistical procedures are essential-notably political science, economics, and the other social sciences, education, and many biological fields as well.

Denton E. Morrison is professor, Department of Sociology, Michigan State University.

Ramon E. Henkel is associate professor emeritus, Department of Sociology University of Maryland. He teaches as part of the graduate faculty.

 

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Contents

The Contemporary Crisis or the Uncertainties of Uncertain
8
Statistical Prudence and Statistical Inference
22
Significance as Interpreted by the School of R A Fisher
41
Introduction
59
The Notion of a Hypothetical Universe Margaret Jarman Hagood
65
The Significance of Insignificant Differences Hans Zeisel
79
Comment on A Critique of Tests of Significance David Gold
109
Randomization and Inference in Sociological Research
116
Statistical Tests and Substantive Significance David Gold
172
Significance Tests Reconsidered Denton E Morrison
182
Proof? No Evidence? Yes The Significance of Tests
199
Introduction
209
The Fallacy of the Null Hypothesis Significance Test
216
The Test of Significance in Psychological Research David Bakan
231
A Methodological
252
Statistical Significance in Psychological Research David T Lykken
267

Some Statistical Problems in Research Design Leslie Kish
127
Theory Probability and Induction in Social Research
142
A Note Concerning the Uses of Statistical
155
Common Misinterpretations of Significance Levels
161
Introduction
283
Publication Decisions and Their Possible Effects on Inferences
295
A Comment
301
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