Psychology: The Rise of false-positive Findings

Posted: February 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: fraud, Research Data | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Psychology: The Rise of false-positive Findings

In the November 2011 Issue of Psychological Science, Joseph P. Simmons, Leif D. Nelson and Uri Simonsohn published an interesting article about the undisclosed flexibility in data collection, analysis, and reporting that leads to an increase of actual false-positive rates in psychology. The researchers stated that it is unacceptably easy to publish “statistically significant” evidence consistent with any hypothesis.

The major problem they found is what they call the “researcher degrees of freedom” – or to be more correct: the decisions researchers making within a research process: e.g. what observations should be included or rejected? How much data should be collected? Which control variables should be used?

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