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ERIC Number: EJ865290
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1082-989X
A Conceptual and Empirical Examination of Justifications for Dichotomization
DeCoster, Jamie; Iselin, Anne-Marie R.; Gallucci, Marcello
Psychological Methods, v14 n4 p349-366 Dec 2009
Despite many articles reporting the problems of dichotomizing continuous measures, researchers still commonly use this practice. The authors' purpose in this article was to understand the reasons that people still dichotomize and to determine whether any of these reasons are valid. They contacted 66 researchers who had published articles using dichotomized variables and obtained their justifications for dichotomization. They also contacted 53 authors of articles published in "Psychological Methods" and asked them to identify any situations in which they believed dichotomized indicators could perform better. Justifications provided by these two groups fell into three broad categories, which the authors explored both logically and with Monte Carlo simulations. Continuous indicators were superior in the majority of circumstances and never performed substantially worse than the dichotomized indicators, but the simulations did reveal specific situations in which dichotomized indicators performed as well as or better than the original continuous indicators. The authors also considered several justifications for dichotomization that did not lend themselves to simulation, but in each case they found compelling arguments to address these situations using techniques other than dichotomization. (Contains 1 footnote, 1 table and 8 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A