Making statistical methods more useful: Some suggestions from a case study

Michael Wood*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    I present a critique of the methods used in a typical article. This leads to three broad conclusions about the conventional use of statistical methods. First, results are often reported in an unnecessarily obscure manner. Second, the null hypothesis testing paradigm is deeply flawed: Estimating the size of effects and citing confidence intervals or levels is usually better. Third, there are several issues, independent of the particular statistical concepts employed, which limit the value of any statistical approach-for example, difficulties of generalizing to different contexts and the weakness of some research in terms of the size of the effects found. The first two of these are easily remedied-I illustrate some of the possibilities by reanalyzing the data from the case study article-and the third means that in some contexts, a statistical approach may not be worthwhile. My case study is a management article, but similar problems arise in other social sciences.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalSAGE Open
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2013


    • Confidence
    • Hypothesis testing
    • Null hypothesis significance test
    • Philosophy of statistics
    • Statistical methods


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