Problems With Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (NHST): What Do the Textbooks Say?

The first of 3 objectives in this study was to address the major problem with Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (NHST) and 2 common misconceptions related to NHST that cause confusion for students and researchers. The misconcep- tions are (a) a smaller p indicates a stronger relationship and (b) statistical signifi- cance indicates practical importance. The second objective was to determine how this problem and the misconceptions were treated in 12 recent textbooks used in edu- cation research methods and statistics classes. The third objective was to examine how the textbooks’ presentations relate to current best practices and how much help they provide for students. The results show that almost all of the textbooks fail to acknowledge that there is controversy surrounding NHST. Most of the textbooks dealt, at least minimally, with the alleged misconceptions of interest, but they pro- vided relatively little help for students.
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Edward Erwin (1998). The Logic of Null Hypothesis Testing. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):197-198.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (1994). Of Nulls and Norms. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:280 - 290.

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