BSA Approves Mission of Task Force on Statistical Inference

In an effort to clarify important issues involving contemporary statistical practice in psychology, the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) approved the mission and membership proposed by the planning group of the Task Force on Statistical Inference. BSA had approved the establishment of the Task Force at its March 1996 meeting.

The Task Force's goal, which was endorsed by BSA, is to evaluate the controversial methodology of significance testing and its alternatives, including newer statistical methods made possible by powerful computers. To accomplish this goal, the Task Force intends to describe the different types of statistical practice and to outline the advantages and disadvantages of each one. As a final project, the Task Force will issue one or more reports. Although the Task Force may make recommendations based on its findings, it will not set guidelines for procedures to be followed in APA journals or elsewhere. Instead, the reports will illuminate the issues that psychologists face in statistical practice and will explain the reasons that researchers and methodologists do not always agree on these matters.

Members of the planning group, Task Force Chair Robert Rosenthal, PhD, Robert Abelson, PhD, and Jacob Cohen, PhD, will be joined by the following psychologists to form the Task Force: Drs. Mark Applebaum, Leona Aiken, Gwyneth Boodoo, David Kenny, Helena Kraemer, Donald Rubin, Bruce Thompson, Howard Wainer, and Lee Wilkinson. Drs. Lee Cronbach, Paul Meehl, Frederick Mosteller, and John Tukey will serve as advisors to the Task Force. In addition, the Task Force will have liaisons from divisions and other interested organizations who will provide comments, but not attend meetings.

The Task Force will hold its first meeting December 14 and 15, 1996.

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