Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hammy the Hamster Goes Organic

[Reposting with updated links]

Is Organic food really better? Ask any hamster ...

... and be sure to visit The Cooks Den for the out-takes video and comments too. Me though, I want the data!

Here is the response I posted over at The Cooks Den.

First, I applaud this experiment. Flaws and all, this is great fun, and any discussion taking it seriously or impprove suggesting how to improve the experiment serves to illustrate what is involved in the scientific method. Bravo!

Second, if we must take it seriously, then we ought to do it right: I strongly disagree with the statistical comparisons presented so far. A t-test or ANOVA applied here is wrong. This is categorical data and there is no a priori reason to disregard the indifferent results. In a Chi-square test of homogeneity with a null hypothesis of equal proportion of responses (25 each; conventional, organic, indifferent) the exact p-value is 0.1890. Even if we exclude the indifferent responses, the p-value is still 0.0854. Neither of these meet the typical standard for statistical significance (p less than 0.05). This is not conclusive evidence that Hammy’s choices are anything other than random.

Crap. I hate when I don't spot the typo until after I have submitted the post.
[Update: Updated links for The Cooks Den. Originally poster March 2009]

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