Wittenberg University

Project Description

The survey will allow me to better understand the usage of the null hypothesis as a form of rhetoric in various programs of study in my honors thesis. Through questions relating to the opinions and comprehension of the null hypothesis, the goal of the analysis is to collect data from the respondents in a faster and more efficient manner. (Although I do not have access to link to a website of my own, I have suggested it to my advisor who has since passed on the information to others. My usage, if allowed an academic upgrade, will be reported in my honors thesis.)

Project Abstract

This mixed methods research looks at the usefulness of viewing statistics from a rhetoric perspective and what this means for the understanding of quantitative analysis in sociology. The study explores the logical role and rhetorical function of the null hypothesis in the practice and teaching of inferential statistics. Data is first collected from various literary sources associated with teaching statistics from a social science perspective as well as those related to the demystification of statistics and its theoretical assumptions. Literature, including Emile Durkheim’s work on rituals, Bertrand Russell’s theory of knowledge, and Max Weber’s concept of the ideal type, is used to formulate and reflect upon the taken-for-granted character of the null. Themes from this data are then developed into a survey (administered to a sample of Statistics minors and Sociology, Psychology, and other Social Sciences majors and minors who have taken statistics, as well as professors in these fields) to test the null hypothesis’ logical structure and rhetorical function in interpretation. This paper is an exercise in the sociology of sociology and, more specifically, an exploration in the sociology of statistics, focusing on the rhetorical structure of inferential statistics.

Surveys released for this project:
The Null Hypothesis 32
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