ERIC Number: ED333036
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr-3
Reference Count: N/A
The Place of Significance Testing in Contemporary Social Science.
Moore, Mary Ann
This paper examines the problems caused by relying solely on statistical significance tests to interpret results in contemporary social science. The place of significance testing in educational research has often been debated. Among the problems in reporting statistical significance are questions of definition and terminology. Problems are also found in the use, as well as the reporting, of significance testing. One of the most important problems is the effect of sample size on significance. An example with a fixed effect size of 25% and samples containing 22, 23, and 24 people illustrates these effects. The issues of validity and reliability in significance testing with measurement studies are considered. Although these problems are widely recognized, publishers show a clear bias in favor of reports that claim statistical significance. Researchers need to recognize the limitations of significance testing. Effect size statistics aid in the interpretation of results and provide a guide to the relative importance of the study. Two tables illustrate the effects of sample size. A 22-item list of references is included. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).