Diagnosing the Misuse of the Bayes factor in Applied Research
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Description: Hypothesis testing is often used for inference in the social sciences. In particular, null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) and its p-value are ubiquitous in published research for decades. Much more recently, null hypothesis Bayesian testing (NHBT) and its Bayes factor also started to be more commonplace in applied research. Following preliminary work by Wong and colleagues, we investigated how, and to what extent, researchers misapply the Bayes factor in applied psychological research by means of a literature study. Based on a final sample of 167 papers, our results indicate that, not unlike NHST and the p-value, also the use of NHBT and the Bayes factor shows signs of misconceptions. We pondered over the root causes of the identified problems. We also provided suggestions to improve the current state of affairs. This paper is aimed to assist researchers to draw the best inferences possible while using NHBT and the Bayes factor in applied research.