Archive for March 2010

Figuring significance significant figures

I recently sat through some great grad student presentations. Most of those presenting empirical results made a common mistake: they kept way too many digits in their presented results.  There are two problems with showing more digits than necessary:  false certainty and lack of clarity.  The extra certainty is certainly false because we know how accurate the estimated coefficients are:  that’s exactly what the standard errors tell us! Extra digits reduce clarity by cluttering up an already hard-to-read table with extra, unnecessary information.

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