# LIS 504 - Bad statistical analysis

Standard statistical tests sometimes lie.
This happens especially when the number of observations is
small.
For example,
suppose two people are asked to rank a list of only two items.
Clearly,
quite by chance,
they will rank them the same 50% of the time,
and their ranking the lists the same is in no way significant.
Nevertheless,
when we use SPSS, for example,
to calculate the rank correlation coefficient,
we get the absurd result that the identity of ranking
is significant at the .01 level:

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Last updated November 1, 2000.

This page maintained by
Prof. Tim Craven

E-mail (text/plain only): t.craven@uwo.ca

Faculty of Information and
Media Studies

University of Western
Ontario,

London, Ontario

Canada, N6A 5B7