ERIC Number: ED344905
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
What Statistical Significance Testing Is, and What It Is Not.
Shaver, James P.
A test of statistical significance is a procedure for determining how likely a result is assuming a null hypothesis to be true with randomization and a sample of size n (the given size in the study). Randomization, which refers to random sampling and random assignment, is important because it ensures the independence of observations, but it does not guarantee independence beyond the initial sample selection. A test of statistical significance provides a statement of probability of occurrence in the long run, with repeated random sampling under the null hypothesis, but provides no basis for a conclusion about the probability that a particular result is attributable to chance. A test of statistical significance also does not indicate the probability that the null hypothesis is true or false and does not indicate whether a treatment being studied had an effect. Statistical significance indicates neither the magnitude nor the importance of a result, and is no indication of the probability that a result would be obtained on study replication. Although tests of statistical significance yield little valid information for questions of interest in most educational research, use and misuse of such tests remain common for a variety of reasons. Researchers should be encouraged to minimize statistical significance tests and to state expectations for quantitative results as critical effect sizes. There is a 58-item list of references. (SLD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Null Hypothesis; Randomization (Statistics); Research Replication
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992).