Experiments with Freshwater Invertebrate Zooplanktivores: Quality of Statistical Analyses
Abstract:We examined the statistical analyses of experimental data in 95 papers published during 1966–1990 on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of freshwater invertebrate zooplanktivores.
Serious statistiical errors were found in 51% of the papers. The frequencies of particular types of errors were as follows: sacrificial pseudoreplication (31%), simple pseudoreplication (11%), temporal pseudoreplication (7%), pseudofactorialism (5%), misuse of one-tailed tests (4%), and failure to use log-transformation in multi-way ANOVA when appropriate (9%). Several of these frequencies are much higher when calculated on the basis of the number of papers where a given type of error is possible. For example, pseudofactorialism occurred in 28% of the papers using multi-way ANOVA, the only type of paper for which this error is possible. We hope that this exhaustive review of a very specific but important area of plankton research will create a positive feedback network among this core group of researchers. This could so improve the use of statistics in future plankton studies that this field could serve as a model for other areas of biology equally plagued by improper statistical analysis.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1993-07-01
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