20/08/2006 Sociology
DOI: 10.1080/01425690500376663 SemanticScholar ID: 143911597 MAG: 1991294559

Towards a judgement‐based statistical analysis

Publication Summary

There is a misconception among social scientists that statistical analysis is somehow a technical, essentially objective, process of decision‐making, whereas other forms of data analysis are judgement‐based, subjective and far from technical. This paper focuses on the former part of the misconception, showing, rather, that statistical analysis relies on judgement of the most personal and non‐technical kind. Therefore, the key to reporting such analyses, and persuading others of ones’ findings, is the clarification and discussion of those judgements and their (attempted) justifications. In this way, statistical analysis is no different from the analysis of other forms of data, especially those forms often referred to as ‘qualitative’. By creating an artificial schism based on the kinds of data we use, the misconception leads to neglect of the similar logic underlying all approaches to research, encourages mono‐method research identities, and so inhibits the use of mixed methods.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Stephen Gorard

Prof. Stephen Gorard

University of Durham - Professor in the School of Education

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