Making the Most Of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation

American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 341-355, April 2000

15 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2008

See all articles by Gary King

Gary King

Harvard University

Michael Tomz

Stanford University

Jason Wittenberg

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Abstract

Social Scientists rarely take full advantage of the information available in their statistical results. As a consequence, they miss opportunities to present quantities that are of greatest substantive interest for their research and express the appropriate degree of certainty about these quantities. In this article, we offer an approach, built on the technique of statistical simulation, to extract the currently overlooked information from any statistical method and to interpret and present it in a reader-friendly manner. Using this technique requires some expertise, which we try to provide herein, but its application should make the results of quantitative articles more informative and transparent. To illustrate our recommendations, we replicate the results of several published works, showing in each case how the authors' own conclusions can be expressed more sharply and informatively, and, without changing any data or statistical assumptions, how our approach reveals important new information about the research questions at hand. We also offer very easy-to-use Clarify software that implements our suggestions.

Suggested Citation

King, Gary and Tomz, Michael and Wittenberg, Jason, Making the Most Of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1083738

Gary King (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-500-7570 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://gking.harvard.edu

Michael Tomz

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jason Wittenberg

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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