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Behav Res Methods. 2011 Sep;43(3):666-78. doi: 10.3758/s13428-011-0089-5.

The (mis)reporting of statistical results in psychology journals.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Psychological Methods, University of Amsterdam, Roetersstraat 15, 1018 WB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. M.Bakker1@uva.nl

Abstract

In order to study the prevalence, nature (direction), and causes of reporting errors in psychology, we checked the consistency of reported test statistics, degrees of freedom, and p values in a random sample of high- and low-impact psychology journals. In a second study, we established the generality of reporting errors in a random sample of recent psychological articles. Our results, on the basis of 281 articles, indicate that around 18% of statistical results in the psychological literature are incorrectly reported. Inconsistencies were more common in low-impact journals than in high-impact journals. Moreover, around 15% of the articles contained at least one statistical conclusion that proved, upon recalculation, to be incorrect; that is, recalculation rendered the previously significant result insignificant, or vice versa. These errors were often in line with researchers' expectations. We classified the most common errors and contacted authors to shed light on the origins of the errors.

PMID:
21494917
PMCID:
PMC3174372
DOI:
10.3758/s13428-011-0089-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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