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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Statistical insignificance

I just stumbled on a pretty nice article highly critical of statistical tools in science or more exactly of how these are misused.

Tom Siegfried, Odds are it's wrong (at Science News).

Some quotes:

... there’s no logical basis for using a P value from a single study to draw any conclusion. If the chance of a fluke is less than 5 percent, two possible conclusions remain: There is a real effect, or the result is an improbable fluke.

... a study with a very large sample can detect “statistical significance” for a small effect that is meaningless in practical terms.

To infer the odds that a barking dog is hungry, for instance, it is not enough to know how often the dog barks when well-fed. You also need to know how often it eats — in order to calculate the prior probability of being hungry.

A good weekend read for the statistically fed up (P<0.0001).

1 comment:

Marnie said...