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ERIC Number: EJ1062395
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0305-4985
Defending the Logic of Significance Testing: A Response to Gorard
Neale, Dave
Oxford Review of Education, v41 n3 p334-345 2015
Recently, Stephen Gorard has outlined strong objections to the use of significance testing in social research. He has argued, first, that as the samples used in social research are almost always non-random it is not possible to use inferential statistical techniques and, second, that even if a truly random sample were achieved, the logic behind the calculation and interpretation of p-values is fundamentally flawed. Arguments against Gorard's position have focused almost exclusively on the first point (the non-random nature of samples) despite the fact that it is the second point which is the more important: if the logic of significance testing is indeed flawed, then whether non-random samples are a problem or not becomes irrelevant. This article aims to show that the logic of significance testing is not flawed in the ways which Gorard claims because: 1) samples do contain real information about the population from which they are derived; and 2) under certain assumptions the p-value can reflect--or at least be a reasonable proxy for--the probability of the null hypothesis being true given the data.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A