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Are Statistics Important in Psychology?

October 4, 2011

This is my first blog which instead of posting I saved as a draft and so uploading now to do the second part of my assignment and comment on other peoples.

Statistics are commonly used in psychological research but does it help or hinder research and is it essential to the subject?

Statistics are fundamental to the study of psychology as it forms the basis of the subjects’ science reputation. Without quantitative data there would be no analytical proof of findings- figures that can be put into graphs, analysed and so allow for a reliable and accurate conclusion that is backed up with proof.

However, statistics can be manipulated to give a more interesting and shocking result that fits in better with a hypothesis or theory. For example to show a certain pattern of behaviour that may not necessarily be there if a different statistical measurement was undertaken. This could mean that rather than being important to the research of psychology it may make it unreliable and undermine the study as a whole as the conclusions could be drawn off false results and information.

Despite this I feel that statistics are the pinnacle of research in psychology: without them psychology would be based purely on theory and would have no scientific base or solid foundation to weight the research. In addition to this, quantitative data is much easier to compare than qualitative data- statistics can be compared by methods such as graphs. Underwood(1949) researches into the experimental design: “I believe that the factual subject matter can be comprehended readily without a statistical knowledge, but a full appreciation of experimental design problems requires some statistical thinking”. From this I, whether or not you can try to get through experiments without statistics, it is still required somewhere or at some point in your research. For this reason psychology would not be the subject it is today and would not reach the findings it does without the use of statistics.








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  1. Excellent blog, loving the examples as well however what about areas within psychology where by you can’t uses statistics, areas that have lead too the creation of helpful techniques such as CBT but can’t be statistically challenged?

  2. Although statistics are important I didn’t look into cognitive behaviour theory so thats a really good point so thanks for your comment I will look further into different research methods the more blogs i do 🙂 There are probably some theories (such as CBH) in which you are unable to use statistics to back up hypothesis etc which I didn’t go into. Despite this, I still feel psychology wouldn’t be a respectable science subject without the use of hard evidence which it works at providing otherwise it may be just hypothetical research and theories as oppose to a science discipline,

  3. Jason permalink

    Aimee while you do have a valid point in the fact that statistics yield hard proof to back up, or reject, psychological hypotheses, I believe that it is important to note that research is only a small part of the psychology field. No don’t misunderstand me. Research is very important and does play a vital role; however in the grand scheme of things it is only one spoke in the giant wheel that is psychology.

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