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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Science category.

When am I a conservative and when am I a liberal (when it comes to statistics, that is)?

Here I am one day: Let me conclude with a statistical point. Sometimes researchers want to play it safe by using traditional methods — most notoriously, in that recent note by Michael Link, president of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, arguing against non-probability sampling on the (unsupported) grounds that such methods have “little […]

“Science does not advance by guessing”

I agree with Deborah Mayo who agrees with Carlo Rovelli that “Science does not advance by guessing. It advances by new data or by a deep investigation of the content and the apparent contradictions of previous empirically successful theories.” And, speaking as a statistician and statistical educator, I think there’s a big problem with the […]

Confirmationist and falsificationist paradigms of science

Deborah Mayo and I had a recent blog discussion that I think might be of general interest so I’m reproducing some of it here. The general issue is how we think about research hypotheses and statistical evidence. Following Popper etc., I see two basic paradigms: Confirmationist: You gather data and look for evidence in support […]

Recently in the sister blog

Meritocracy won’t happen: the problem’s with the ‘ocracy’ Does the sex of your child affect your political attitudes? More hype about political attitudes and neuroscience Modern polling needs innovation, not traditionalism Who cares about copycat pollsters? The mythical swing voter Mythical swing voter update No, all Americans are not created equal when it comes to […]

“An Experience with a Registered Replication Project”

Anne Pier Salverda writes: I came across this blog entry, “An Experience with a Registered Replication Project,” and thought that you would find this interesting. It’s written by Simone Schnall, a social psychologist who is the first author of an oft-cited Psych Science(!) paper (“Cleanliness reduces the severity of moral judgments”) that a group of […]

“Building on theories used to describe magnets, scientists have put together a model that captures something very different . . .”

There’s a story that (some) physicists and science reporters seem to like, which is the idea that some clever mathematician or physicist can derive universal laws of social behavior. It’s time to tell you all: Hari Seldon never existed. Here’s what I think of these stories of physicists who discover the laws of society. I […]

Estimating a customer satisfaction regression, asking only a subset of predictors for each person

Someone writes in with an interesting question: I’d like to speak with you briefly to get your thoughts on the imputation of missing data in a new online web-survey technique I’m developing. Our survey uses Split Questionnaire Design. The total number of surveys will vary in length with different customers, but will generally be between […]

Hurricanes/himmicanes extra: Again with the problematic nature of the scientific publication process

Jeremy Freese has the story. To me, the sad thing is not that people who don’t understand statistics are doing research. After all, statistics is hard, and to require statistical understanding of all quantitative researchers would be impossible to enforce in any case. Indeed, if anything, one of the goals of the statistical profession is […]

The Syrian p-value that I didn’t bother to calculate

I posted something on the sister blog about the fake vote totals from the Syrian election. We know the numbers are fake from the official report, which reads: Speaker of the People’s Assembly, Mohammad Jihad al-Laham announced Wednesday that Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad won the post of the Syrian Arab Republic’s President for a new […]

Identifying pathways for managing multiple disturbances to limit plant invasions

Andrew Tanentzap, William Lee, Adrian Monks, Kate Ladley, Peter Johnson, Geoffrey Rogers, Joy Comrie, Dean Clarke, and Ella Hayman write: We tested a multivariate hypothesis about the causal mechanisms underlying plant invasions in an ephemeral wetland in South Island, New Zealand to inform management of this biodiverse but globally imperilled habitat. . . . We […]