Category Archives: Research tools and methods

What are degrees of freedom in statistics? – Part 2

In a previous post we saw that t distributions with more degrees of freedom approximate the Normal distribution more closely, and degrees of freedom are increased by testing more subjects. How do degrees of freedom influence t values when calculating confidence intervals? The confidence interval about an effect indicates how the effect varies if the study is repeated many times.

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False-positive findings and how to minimize them

As scientists we collect data and look for patterns or differences. Because populations display variation and we are unable to collect data from all members of a population, statistical results will always possess a level of uncertainty. For example, it is common to set alpha to 0.05. This implies that if there is no difference or effect, there is a

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Calculating sample size using precision for planning

Most sample size calculations for independent or paired samples are performed based on power to detect an effect of a certain size, assuming there’s no effect. Instead, Cumming and Calin-Jageman recommend that readers plan studies to detect precise effects. The 95% confidence interval (CI) indicates precision about effects. Therefore, it is possible to plan studies to detect narrow 95% CIs

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The likelihood ratio test: relevance and application

Suppose you conduct a study to compare an outcome between two independent groups of people, but you realised later that the groups were unexpectedly different at baseline. This difference might affect how you interpret the findings. For example, you measured muscle stiffness in people with stroke and in healthy people. At the end of the study, you realised that on

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