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The Fall of the Null Hypothesis: Liabilities and Opportunities

Fred S. Guthery, Jeffrey J. Lusk and Markus J. Peterson
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jul., 2001), pp. 379-384
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3803089
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3803089
Page Count: 6
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The Fall of the Null Hypothesis: Liabilities and Opportunities
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Abstract

The collapse of null hypothesis significance testing as a statistical paradigm has created liabilities and opportunities in wildlife science. One liability is that some formalism for statistical hypothesis testing, such as likelihood with information theory, will simply replace null hypothesis significance testing as a rote approach to wildlife science. The principal intellectual instrument of the scientist remains the research hypothesis, not the statistical hypothesis. Accordingly, 1 opportunity arising from a change of statistical paradigms is that the research hypothesis will move to the foreground of wildlife science, the statistical hypothesis to the background. A second opportunity is a broadening of the suite of inferential methods considered orthodox in wildlife science. Realization of these opportunities should help wildlife scientists resist the social tendency to allow tools (means, statistical models) to supplant the search for reliable knowledge (end) as the benchmark of scientific endeavor. Science of the highest order, including virtually all discoveries that humankind extols today, is possible without the statistical hypothesis, but not without the research hypothesis.

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