While analyzing data from an experiment, I found myself writing things like “The treatment changes the outcome variably by…” or “the treatment leads to changes in the outcome variable”. However, I often thought that talking about changes sounded too ‘dynamic’. After all, I was referring to two different groups of subjects (between-subjects design). What I was doing was to statistically compare means of the outcome variable of different groups. I was ok to talk about changes when referring to within-subject differences, i.e. changes in outcomes for the same subject due to an intervention, but for the between-subjects case, shouldn’t I rather talk about differences instead of changes? Continue reading mean differences or mean changes?
I stumbled across a recent research article published in Science magazine, called “How economic, humanitarian, and religious concerns shape European attitudes toward asylum seekers” by Kirk Bansak, Jens Jainmueller, and Dominik Hangartner.
This article struck my attention because I find the topic very interesting, because it was an experiment and not ‘just’ an empirical investigation of data, and because they decided to present their findings not only in a boring regression table, but in a colorful ropeladder plot.
I will start my second blog post, which is supposed to give you a brief hint on why I call this blog ‘experimental behaviour’, with the cheesiest line any movie, text, or song could ever begin: ‘When I was a kid…’
When I was a kid I often asked myself how grown-ups, especially my parents, could be sure about certain things. For example, they would always exclaim that, had I not done this or that, something else (most often something bad) wouldn’t have happened. That is something which, especially when you are a grown-up, is very easy to say. In a sense they were claiming that they felt certain about a cause-effect relationship, allowing them to infer from some behaviour the probability or direction of certain outcomes, e.g. events. Very often, establishing cause-effect relationships like this is very sensible and without problems. Still, sometimes this can also be very reckless and assumptive. Continue reading why experimental behaviour?