Voices of dissent: statistical hypothesis testing

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 8 15:36:41 EST 2002

>From the following website:


"If we can control statistical significance simply by changing sample size,
if statistical significance is not equivalent to scientific significance, if
statistical significant testing corrupts the scientific method, and if it
has only questionable relevance to one out of fifteen threats to research
validity, then I believe we should eliminate statistical significance
testing in our research. Such testing is not only useless, it is also
harmful because it is interpreted to mean something it is not" (Carver,
1978, p. 392).

· "The test of statistical significance in psychological research may be
taken as an instance of a kind of essential mindlessness in the conduct of
research" (Morrison & Henkel, 1970, p. 436)

· "Significance tests do not provide the information that scientists need,
and furthermore, they are not the most effective method for analyzing and
summarizing data" (Clark, 1963, pp. 469).

· "The time has arrived for educational researchers to divest themselves of
the yoke of statistical hypothesis testing" (Shulman, 1970, p. 389).

· "The time has arrived to exorcise the null hypothesis" (Cronbach, 1975, p.

· A null hypothesis test is a ritualized exercise of devil's advocacy
(Abelson, 1995, p. 12).

· "It would hardly be exaggeration to describe hypothesis testing as a
method of giving a misleading answer to a question which nobody is asking!"
(Novick & Jackson, 1974, p. 245).

Carver, R.P. (1978). The case against statistical significance. Harvard
Educational Review, 48, 378-399.

Morrison, D.E., & Henkel, R.E. (1970). Significance tests in behavioral
research: Skeptical conclusions and beyond. In D.E. Morrison & R.E. Henkel
(Eds.), The significance testing controversy: A reader. Chicago: Aldine.

Clark, C.A. (1963). Hypothesis testing in relation to statistical
methodology. Review of Educational Research, 33, 455-473.

Shulman, L.S. (1970). Reconstruction of educational research. Review of
Educational Research, 40, 371-393. Task Force on Statistical Inference
Initial report.

Cronbach, L.J. (1975). Beyond the two disciplines of scientific psychology.
American Psychologist, 30, 116-127.

Abelson, R.P. (1995) Statistics as principled argument. Hillsdale, NJ:

Novick, M., & Jackson, P. (1974). Statistical Methods for Educational and
Psychological Research New York: McGraw Hill.

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