Statistics can be manipulated by other professions; it is critical that scientists follow strict rules in the use and application of statistical techniques. The use of statistics becomes our referee to help us decide if our ideas and suppositions are correct. If we design our experiments intelligently, collect our data accurately and analyze them correctly, we can determine if our experimental treatments produce clear effects. Statistical analysis does not provide 100% certainty, but it does provide us an objective basis to draw conclusions based on recognized techniques and accepted guidelines rather than mere hype or speculation. A statistically significant difference does not necessarily mean that the treatment will have a practical effect. For example, a small, but statistically significant color change may or may not affect consumer acceptability of a chocolate pudding as the typical consumer may not be as sensitive to color differences as a colorimeter or trained sensory panel. Likewise, if no statistical significance is found in the development of an off-flavor, we conclude that there is no significant difference in the experimental treatment. There may be consumers that can detect the specific off-flavor, but the general population shows no effect.
KeywordsExperimental Treatment Peanut Butter Strict Rule Numerical Average Typical Consumer
- Best J (2001) Damned lies and statistics: untangling numbers from the media, politicians and activists. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
- Beveridge WIB (2004) The art of scientific investigation. Blackburn Press, CaldwellGoogle Scholar
- Cox DR, Reid N (2000) The theory of the design of experiments. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
- John E, Taupin B (1972) Rocket Man (I think it’s gonna be a long, long time). In: Honky Château. Universal City Records, Santa Monica. http://www.berniejtaupin.com/discography.bt?ds_id=302
- Mason RL, Gunst RF, Hess JL (2003) Statistical design and analysis of experiments, with applications to engineering and science. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
- Urdan TC (2010) Statistics in plain english, 3rd edn. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar