The proof of the pudding: an illustration of the relative strengths of null hypothesis, meta-analysis, and Bayesian analysis

Psychol Methods. 2000 Sep;5(3):315-32. doi: 10.1037/1082-989x.5.3.315.


Some methodologists have recently suggested that scientific psychology's over-reliance on null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) impedes the progress of the discipline. In response, a number of defenders have maintained that NHST continues to play a vital role in psychological research. Both sides of the argument to date have been presented abstractly. The authors take a different approach to this issue by illustrating the use of NHST along with 2 possible alternatives (meta-analysis as a primary data analysis strategy and Bayesian approaches) in a series of 3 studies. Comparing and contrasting the approaches on actual data brings out the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. The exercise demonstrates that the approaches are not mutually exclusive but instead can be used to complement one another.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Psychometrics*