Equivalence Testing for Psychological Research: A Tutorial

Published on Jun 1, 2018
· DOI :10.1177/2515245918770963
Daniel Lakens33
Estimated H-index: 33
(TU/e: Eindhoven University of Technology),
Anne M. Scheel6
Estimated H-index: 6
(TU/e: Eindhoven University of Technology),
Peder M. Isager9
Estimated H-index: 9
(TU/e: Eindhoven University of Technology)
Psychologists must be able to test both for the presence of an effect and for the absence of an effect. In addition to testing against zero, researchers can use the two one-sided tests (TOST) procedure to test for equivalence and reject the presence of a smallest effect size of interest (SESOI). The TOST procedure can be used to determine if an observed effect is surprisingly small, given that a true effect at least as extreme as the SESOI exists. We explain a range of approaches to determine the SESOI in psychological science and provide detailed examples of how equivalence tests should be performed and reported. Equivalence tests are an important extension of the statistical tools psychologists currently use and enable researchers to falsify predictions about the presence, and declare the absence, of meaningful effects.
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