j.persephone Posted December 13, 2015 Share Posted December 13, 2015 Hi everyone, Let me start by saying, if this part of the forum is only supposed to be for admissions questions, I apologize. I was hoping to get some insight into a question about statistics in political science. As an undergrad, I was taught that if you are using population data, even if it is a limited temporal scope (e.g. all countries between 1945-1995), there is no reason to interpret statistical significance. Even though the units are part of a theoretically larger population and it would be useful to know the thing statistical significance is trying to get at, using methods that are actually based around the properties of random sampling does not really tell you anything particularly meaningful. I'm now in an MA program where I have some professors who subscribe to this and others who adamantly do not. I have noticed plenty of articles do interpret statistical significance while using what is arguably population data or at least in no way a random sample. I would love it if anyone would be willing to share any insight on: 1) The status of this debate in the field more recently. Most of the articles on this that I have found are 10+ years old and I'm wondering whether a sort of unspoken consensus has been formed, or whether I have just been looking for discussions of this in the wrong places. 2) What are you teaching/being taught about the appropriateness of interpreting statistical significance with population data in your program? Sorry if I am using some terms imprecisely or not explaining this well. The language of instruction for my undergraduate courses was not English so I may not have translated my thoughts well. Thanks everyone and have a great weekend! B. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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