Alphas and asterisks: The development of statistical significance testing standards in sociology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, I trace the development of statistical significance testing standards in sociology by analyzing data from articles published in two prestigious sociology journals between 1935 and 2000. I focus on the role of two key elements in the diffusion literature, contagion and rationality, as well as the role of institutional factors. I find that statistical significance testing flourished in the 20th century. Contagion processes and the suitability of significance testing given a study's data characteristics encourage the diffusion of significance testing, whereas institutional factors such as department prestige and particular editorships help explain growing popularity of the .05 alpha level and use of the "three-star system" of symbolic codes (i.e., *p < = .05, **p < = .01, ***p < = .001).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Forces
Volume84
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2005

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institutional factors
statistical significance
sociology
prestige
rationality
popularity
Sociology
Significance Testing
literature
Contagion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Alphas and asterisks : The development of statistical significance testing standards in sociology. / Leahey, Erin E.

In: Social Forces, Vol. 84, No. 1, 09.2005, p. 1-24.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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