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How Not to Lie with Statistics: Avoiding Common Mistakes in Quantitative Political Science

Gary King
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 30, No. 3 (Aug., 1986), pp. 666-687
DOI: 10.2307/2111095
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111095
Page Count: 22
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How Not to Lie with Statistics: Avoiding Common Mistakes in Quantitative Political Science
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Abstract

This article identifies a set of serious theoretical mistakes appearing with troublingly high frequency throughout the quantitative political science literature. These mistakes are all based on faulty statistical theory or on erroneous statistical analysis. Through algebraic and interpretive proofs, some of the most commonly made mistakes are explicated and illustrated. The theoretical problem underlying each is highlighted, and suggested solutions are provided throughout. It is argued that closer attention to these problems and solutions will result in more reliable quantitative analyses and more useful theoretical contributions

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