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Publication Decisions and Their Possible Effects on Inferences Drawn from Tests of Significance--Or Vice Versa

Theodore D. Sterling
Journal of the American Statistical Association
Vol. 54, No. 285 (Mar., 1959), pp. 30-34
DOI: 10.2307/2282137
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2282137
Page Count: 5
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Publication Decisions and Their Possible Effects on Inferences Drawn from Tests of Significance--Or Vice Versa
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Abstract

There is some evidence that in fields where statistical tests of significance are commonly used, research which yields nonsignificant results is not published. Such research being unknown to other investigators may be repeated independently until eventually by chance a significant result occurs-an "error of the first kind"-and is published. Significant results published in these fields are seldom verified by independent replication. The possibility thus arises that the literature of such a field consists in substantial part of false conclusions resulting from errors of the first kind in statistical tests of significance.

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