The Future of Quantitative Inquiry in the Social Sciences: Challenges and Opportunities

David Kaplan, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Termin: 2. Dezember 2015 Zeit: 17 Uhr c.t. Ort: Campus Westend, PEG 1.G 192

In 2015, after a one-year grace period, the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology (BASP) issued an editorial policy banning null hypothesis significance testing (NHST). The policy now allows author(s) to submit papers that present results using NHST Procedures (NHSTP), but prior to publication “...authors will have to remove all vestiges of the NHSTP (p-values, t-values, F-values, statements about significant differences or lack thereof, and so on).”(Trafimow and Marks, 2015, pg. 1).  The motivation for BASP to ban NHST rests on the editors’ view that NHST has dulled creative thinking and has done great harm to the advancement of the social and behavioral sciences.  To quote Trafimow and Marks (2015), “We hope and anticipate that banning the NHSTP will have the effect of increasing the quality of submitted manuscripts by liberating authors from the stultified structure of NHSTP thinking thereby eliminating an important obstacle to creative thinking.” (pg. 2)   If the ban instituted by Trafimow and Marks is successful and other journals follow suit as they hope, what impact might the ban have for the future of quantitative inquiry in education? This talk consists of two parts.  In Part I, we examine the motivations for the ban by first briefly describing the general problems associated with NHST.   We specifically focus on the precise interpretation of the p-value and how it has been misinterpreted for decades. In Part II, we examine the Bayesian inferential paradigm as a constructive way forward for quantitative inquiry in the social sciences.