Beyond inference by eye: Statistical and graphing practices in JEAB, 1992-2017

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Journal Article
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 2019, 111 (2), pp. 155 - 165
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© 2019 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Debates about the utility of p values and correct ways to analyze data have inspired new guidelines on statistical inference by the American Psychological Association (APA) and changes in the way results are reported in other scientific journals, but their impact on the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB) has not previously been evaluated. A content analysis of empirical articles published in JEAB between 1992 and 2017 investigated whether statistical and graphing practices changed during that time period. The likelihood that a JEAB article reported a null hypothesis significance test, included a confidence interval, or depicted at least one figure with error bars has increased over time. Features of graphs in JEAB, including the proportion depicting single-subject data, have not changed systematically during the same period. Statistics and graphing trends in JEAB largely paralleled those in mainstream psychology journals, but there was no evidence that changes to APA style had any direct impact on JEAB. In the future, the onus will continue to be on authors, reviewers and editors to ensure that statistical and graphing practices in JEAB continue to evolve without interfering with characteristics that set the journal apart from other scientific journals.
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