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On the Nature and Role of Hypothesis Tests

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journal contribution
posted on 08.06.2017, 00:34 by McLean, Alan
Hypothesis testing is widely regarded as an essential part of statistics, but its use in research has led to considerable controversy in a number of disciplines, especially psychology, with a number of commentators suggesting it should not be used at all. A root cause of this controversy was the overenthusiastic adoption of hypothesis testing, based on a greatly exaggerated view of its role in research. A second cause was confusion between the two forms of hypothesis testing developed by Fisher on the one hand and Neyman and Pearson on the other. This paper discusses these two causes, and also proposes that there is a more general misunderstanding of the role of hypothesis testing. This misunderstanding is reflected in vocabulary such as 'the true value of the parameter'.


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Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics