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John Butters

Thanks -- very interesting.

Is the following analogy any good?

Study: You go to Selfridges with the intention of looking for nice clothes. You hate the shirts, the hats, the shoes and the scarves, but you do find two nice things: a lovely jumper and some trousers. Success! You publish a study called, "Significant Evidence of Quality in Selfridges' Jumper and Trouser Buying".

Replication: Your wife loves how you look in the jumper. Sadly, one day, you catch it on some barbed wire while out shooting. Your wife goes so Selfridges with the intention of buying the same jumper, or one that is fairly similar. But the stock has changed and there is nothing that she likes. Your wife publishes a study called, "Jumper Buying at Selfridges: The Fallacies of Statistical Hope".

Yes, I have taken a childish delight in anglicising this. Sorry!


Randall's example always makes me smile...



The results have to be considered taking into account the huge number of studies that are conducted. Psychology departments often have a course that requires students to take part in a study so they have no trouble obtaining participants. In this case they obviously had some money so could also do some lab tests, although sometimes this is done by students. One aspect that makes the results look better is that all tests are significant but it is likely that the outcomes are correlated. So by chance they get a significant result.

I'm surprised that there isn't more replication, especially when the studies are not difficult. Great way to get citations. The only problem may be that often these studies results aren't replicated so it may be difficult to be published unless the replication study is better in some way, like larger sample size.

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