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Monday, March 22, 2010

Field studies, small samples, and WarpPLS

Let us assume that a researcher wants to evaluate the effectiveness of new management method by conducting an intervention study in one single organization.

In this example, the researcher facilitates the use of a new management method by 20 managers in the organization, and then measures their degree of adoption of the method and their effectiveness.

The above is an example of a field study. Often field studies will yield small datasets, which will not conform to parametric analysis (e.g., ANOVA and ordinary multiple regression) pre-conditions. For example, the data will not typically be normally distributed.

WarpPLS can be very useful in the analysis of this type of data.

One reason is that, with small sample sizes, it may be difficult to identify linear relationships that are strong enough to be statistically significant (at P lower than 0.05, or less). Since WarpPLS implements nonlinear analysis algorithms, it can be very useful in the analysis of small samples.

Another reason is that P values are calculated through resampling, a nonparametric approach to statistical significance estimation. For small samples (i.e., lower than 100), jackknifing is the recommended resampling approach. Bootstrapping is recommended only for sample sizes greater than 100.

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