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Garamszegi et al. (2009). Changing philosophies and tools for statistical inferences in behavioral ecology. Behavioral Ecology, in press.

Recent statistical developments have reached behavioral ecology, and more and more studies now apply analytical tools that incorporate novel philosophical concepts. However, these “new” approaches continue to receive mixed support in our field. Because our statistical choices can influence how we commit science, there is an urgent need for reaching consensus on statistical practice. The paper provides a brief overview of the recently proposed approaches and open an online forum for future discussion (https://bestat.ecoinformatics.org/). For this review, the authors adopt the perspective of practicing behavioral ecologists relying on various kinds of data. They emphasize that researchers should recognize that uncertainty is an inherent feature of biological data, and that it is important to integrate previous knowledge in the current analysis. For these tasks, novel approaches offer a variety of tools. However, a pluralistic perspective is recommended for statistical decisions, in which researchers should objectively decide about the most appropriate statistical method that the biological question and data at hand require. The paper highlights how these concepts could be made apparent in scientific publications.

Garamszegietal2009BehavEcol.pdf — PDF document, 369Kb

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