Data Processing, Systematic Errors, and Validity of Conclusions in Education Research
The aim of the present study is the investigation of the validity of various results in education research, due to the way these have been derived from the data taken. The use of simple statistical tools for data analysis is seen as the mail culprit, leading to results that are not supported by the quality of the data taken. The repeated use of purely statistical tools, albeit simple in execution and convenient as they really are, ignores the presence of systematic (non-statistical) measurement errors. It is precisely this failure during data analysis that very often leads to erroneous results. The non-repeatability of various experiments is thus explained, while some suggestions are offered to improve the situation.
Systematic error estimation and Random error computation should be used to determine the total experimental error (or uncertainty) for each and every data-point of primary experimental data-plot. Subsequently, full error-propagation techniques need to be used to find the final error for each point, so as these can be reliably utilised to make valid comparisons and finally derive valid experimental results.
Naive utilisation of simplistic statistical functions is to be curtailed, while more precise information needs to be factored in and be properly evaluated, so as conclusions would be unequivocally valid.
KeywordsData processing Education research Statistical errors Error propagation Research methodology
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