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Null hypothesis testing : Problems, prevalence, and an alternative
ANDERSON David R. ; BURNHAM Kenneth P. ; THOMPSON William L.
This paper presents a review and critique of statistical null hypothesis testing in ecological studies in general, and wildlife studies in particular, and describes an alternative. Our review of Ecology and the Journal of Wildlife Management found the use of null hypothesis testing to be pervasive. The estimated number of P-values appearing within articles of Ecology exceeded 8,000 in 1991 and has exceeded 3,000 in each year since 1984, whereas the estimated number of P-values in the Journal of Wildlife Management exceeded 8,000 in 1997 and has exceeded 3,000 in each year since 1994. We estimated that 47% (SE = 3.9%) of the P-values in the Journal of Wildlife Management lacked estimates of means or effect sizes or even the sign of the difference in means or other parameters. We find that null hypothesis testing is uninformative when no estimates of means or effect size and their precision are given. Contrary to common dogma, tests of statistical null hypotheses have relatively little utility in science and are not a fundamental aspect of the scientific method. We recommend their use be reduced in favor of more informative approaches. Towards this objective, we describe a relatively new paradigm of data analysis based on Kullback-Leibler information. This paradigm is an extension of likelihood theory and, when used correctly, avoids many of the fundamental limitations and common misuses of null hypothesis testing. Information-theoretic methods focus on providing a strength of
Wildlife Society
ISSN : 0022-541X CODEN : JWMAA9
The Journal of wildlife management A. 2000, vol. 64, n° 4, pp. 912-923 [bibl. : 1 p.1/2]
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