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One- versus Two-Tailed Hypothesis Tests in Contemporary Educational Research

David B. Pillemer
Educational Researcher
Vol. 20, No. 9 (Dec., 1991), pp. 13-17
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176244
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
One- versus Two-Tailed Hypothesis Tests in Contemporary Educational Research
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Abstract

The choice of a one- rather than a two-tailed hypothesis testing strategy can influence research outcomes, but information about the type of test conducted is rarely reported in articles appearing in educational and psychological journals. Because unambiguous standards for using one- and two-tailed tests do not exist, complete reporting of hypothesis testing procedures is essential. In addition, educational researchers need to reevaluate the decision-oriented, "critical experiment" model of science that underlies the use of one-tailed tests. It is the adherence to the arbitrary .05 level of significance as a benchmark for publication decisions, rather than logical or methodological considerations, that largely accounts for the popularity of one-tailed tests. Effect size estimates, accompanied by confidence intervals or exact two-tailed probabilities, are generally more compatible with the growing meta-analytic view of social science as an incremental, cumulative, and shared enterprise.

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