forum 9: week of 12 March: Fisher and the design of experiments

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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In response to Dr. Morton's question, from the Fisher reading, as well as some rudimentary knowledge of statistics (most of which is also based on Fisher's work, obviously), it follows that results of experiments are interesting if they are statistically significant, i.e. it is improbable that these results have occurred purely by chance. Given this, we are functioning under the assumptions that we, as experimenters, have considered every possible combination of the results before the experiment has been conducted, and it would be highly unlikely that the data that would falsify the null hypothesis occurred by accident. This would also depend on the sample size used in the experiment, and Fisher stresses the importance of this by stating, "The odds could be made much higher by enlarging the experiment, while if the experiment were much smaller, even the greatest possible success would give odds so low that the result might, with considerable probability, be ascribed to chance" Nicole, I found (and I wouldn't be surprised if others felt the same way) this reading to be a lot more accessible than last week's, and some basic knowledge of statistics has primed my understanding of Fisher this time, so I haven't encountered any difficulties.

05:08, 12 March 2012