Significance Testing:Necessary but Insufficient

Hoi K. Suen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Sampling fluctuation is an inherent characteristic of data. We cannot pretend that it does not exist, nor can we abandon significance testing without a viable replacement. It remains a concern as long as we wish to draw research conclusions within a positivistic paradigm. It is there regardless of whether we conduct a large-group or a single-subject study. It is also there whether we conduct a simple norm-referenced assessment, a complex judgment-based assessment, or any other assessment. The widespread misuse of significance testing suggests that sampling fluctuation has been an overbearing guest who has become the inappropriate center of attention at the party. Instead of wishing this guest away, we should put sampling fluctuation in its proper place; namely, as but one of the numerous epistemological concerns in any positivistic research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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