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Titre du document / Document title

Null hypothesis testing : Problems, prevalence, and an alternative

Auteur(s) / Author(s)

ANDERSON David R. (1) ; BURNHAM Kenneth P. (1) ; THOMPSON William L. (2) ;

Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)

(1) Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Room 201 Wagar Building, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, ETATS-UNIS
(2) U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 316 E. Myrtle St., Boise, Idaho 83702, ETATS-UNIS

Résumé / Abstract

This paper presents a review and critique of statistical null hypothesis testing in ecological studies in general, and wildlife studies in particular, and describes an alternative. Our review of Ecology and the Journal of Wildlife Management found the use of null hypothesis testing to be pervasive. The estimated number of P-values appearing within articles of Ecology exceeded 8,000 in 1991 and has exceeded 3,000 in each year since 1984, whereas the estimated number of P-values in the Journal of Wildlife Management exceeded 8,000 in 1997 and has exceeded 3,000 in each year since 1994. We estimated that 47% (SE = 3.9%) of the P-values in the Journal of Wildlife Management lacked estimates of means or effect sizes or even the sign of the difference in means or other parameters. We find that null hypothesis testing is uninformative when no estimates of means or effect size and their precision are given. Contrary to common dogma, tests of statistical null hypotheses have relatively little utility in science and are not a fundamental aspect of the scientific method. We recommend their use be reduced in favor of more informative approaches. Towards this objective, we describe a relatively new paradigm of data analysis based on Kullback-Leibler information. This paradigm is an extension of likelihood theory and, when used correctly, avoids many of the fundamental limitations and common misuses of null hypothesis testing. Information-theoretic methods focus on providing a strength of evidence for an a priori set of alternative hypotheses, rather than a statistical test of a null hypothesis. This paradigm allows the following types of evidence for the alternative hypotheses: the rank of each hypothesis, expressed as a model; an estimate of the formal likelihood of each model, given the data; a measure of precision that incorporates model selection uncertainty; and simple methods to allow the use of the set of alternative models in making, formal inference. We provide an example of the information-theoretic approach using data on the effect of lead on survival in spectacled eider ducks (Somateria fischeri). Regardless of the analysis paradigm used, we strongly recommend inferences based on a priori considerations be clearly separated from those resulting from some form of data dredging.

Revue / Journal Title

The Journal of wildlife management    ISSN  0022-541X   CODEN JWMAA9 

Source / Source

2000, vol. 64, no4, pp. 912-923 (1 p.1/2)

Langue / Language

Anglais

Editeur / Publisher

Wildlife Society, Bethesda, MD, ETATS-UNIS  (1937) (Revue)

Mots-clés anglais / English Keywords

Data analysis

;

Hypothesis

;

Theory

;

Statistical test

;

Significance test

;

Hypothesis test

;

Selection criterion

;

Akaike information criterion

;

Ecology

;

Population management

;

Review

;

Mots-clés français / French Keywords

Analyse donnée

;

Hypothèse

;

Théorie

;

Test statistique

;

Test signification

;

Test hypothèse

;

Critère sélection

;

Critère information Akaike

;

Ecologie

;

Gestion population

;

Article synthèse

;

Null Hypothesis

;

Mots-clés espagnols / Spanish Keywords

Análisis datos

;

Hipótesis

;

Teoría

;

Test estadístico

;

Test significación

;

Test hipótesis

;

Criterio selección

;

Criterio información Akaike

;

Ecología

;

Gestión población

;

Artículo síntesis

;

Localisation / Location

INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 3369, 35400009276123.0030

Nº notice refdoc (ud4) : 792848



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