UC Berkeley Institute of Personality and Social Research

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Power Analysis and Meta-Analysis are Falsely Reassuring Solutions for Concerns about Statistical Power

Presenter: Leif Nelson, Professor, Haas School of Business

Wed, Apr 19, 2017, 12:10 pm to 1:15 pm

5101 Tolman Hall

Transparency, disclosure, and preregistration have revealed that some statistically underpowered studies may be propped up by selective reporting and p-hacking. Conscientious researchers therefore have renewed investment in statistical power. One approach is to conduct traditional power analysis to correctly set the sample size. I argue that this tool is not helpful and often biased toward samples which are too small. A different approach is to conduct underpowered studies, but meta-analyze across a collection. I argue that this tool is strikingly prone to false-positive inferences. Statistical power is a hugely important problem, but the most widely suggested tools do not offer a helpful solution.

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