TED talks, sensationalist journalism and the internet have all given the social sciences a boost over the last few decades. But are they facing a crisis of statistical analysis? Brave scholars have occasionally set out prank papers to prove their point – famously, in 2011, a highly respected journal published a paper by psychologists who had “proved” that listening to a Beatles song made people younger. Of course, mistakes are often made, and this website, Retraction Watch, is wonderful for procrastination until you remember that somewhere, someone is crying as years of work crumble to dust all thanks to a dodgy p value. This article has gathered together all of the hoaxes and explained the problems with the stats – and any student of Politics, Experimental Psychology, Economics, Mathematics and Statistics should have a good read.
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