Academia

Rereading Meehl

Lately, I’ve been rereading a lot of Meehl’s papers on the epistemological problems with research in psychology. This passage from “The Problem Is Epistemology, Not Statistics: Replace Significance Tests by Confidence Intervals and Quantify Accuracy of Risky Numerical Predictions” strikes me as an almost perfect summary of his concerns, although it’s quite abstract and assumes […]

Criticism 5 of NHST: p-Values Measure Effort, Not Truth

Criticism 5 of NHST: p-Values Measure Effort, Not Truth

Introduction In the third installment of my series of criticisms of NHST, I focused on the notion that a p-value is nothing more than a one-dimensional representation of a two-dimensional space in which (1) the measured size of an effect and (2) the precision of this measurement have been combined in such a way that […]

Criticism 4 of NHST: No Mechanism for Producing Substantive Cumulative Knowledge

[Note to the Reader: This is a much rougher piece than the previous pieces because the argument is more complex. I ask that you please point out places where things are unclear and where claims are not rigorous.] In this fourth part of my series of criticisms of NHST, I’m going to focus on broad […]

Criticism 3 of NHST: Essential Information is Lost When Transforming 2D Data into a 1D Measure

Criticism 3 of NHST: Essential Information is Lost When Transforming 2D Data into a 1D Measure

Introduction Continuing on with my series on the weaknesses of NHST, I’d like to focus on an issue that’s not specific to NHST, but rather one that’s relevant to all quantitative analysis: the destruction caused by an inappropriate reduction of dimensionality. In our case, we’ll be concerned with the loss of essential information caused by […]

Criticism 2 of NHST: NHST Conflates Rare Events with Evidence Against the Null Hypothesis

Introduction This is my second post in a series describing the weaknesses of the NHST paradigm. In the first post, I argued that NHST is a dangerous tool for a community of researchers because p-values cannot be interpreted properly without perfect knowledge of the research practices of other scientists — knowledge that we cannot hope […]

Criticism 1 of NHST: Good Tools for Individual Researchers are not Good Tools for Research Communities

Introduction Over my years as a graduate student, I have built up a long list of complaints about the use of Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (NHST) in the empirical sciences. In the next few weeks, I’m planning to publish a series of blog posts, each of which will articulate one specific weakness of NHST. The […]

Academic Jargon: Field-Specific Insults

Every academic field seems to develop a set of generic insults based on their intellectual toolkit. Here are two examples I hear often: Probabilists and Statisticians: “I think that’s an interesting case, but it’s in a set with measure zero.” Economists: “X group’s behavior is clearly rent-seeking.” Do any readers have good examples from other […]