When statistics attack

I swear stats is trying to kill me. I’ve redesigned my experiment so that it’s a nice elegant “two-factor repeated measures” flavour. I won’t trouble you with exactly what that means, or exactly what the nine separate hypotheses I’m testing are. What I will trouble you with, for it’s certainly been troubling me, is this:

To analyse the data I will collect I need to use a stats test, which broadly speaking is a factory that converts numbers into truth (or lies if you’re not careful).

Jim, Mr Stats, has a stats handbook that tells you how to do this. It has a nifty little flowchart at the beginning that you can trace through to work out which of the several dozen different kinds of stats tests you need to use. Easy enough, I think to myself as my fingers follow the little arrows across the page. And where do I end up? At a little box that states helpfully: “It may be possible to devise an ad hoc statistical test for the design under consideration.”

That’s right – with my new, improved, elegant design, the Oracle of Statistics reckons it may be possible, with not so much as a hint as to how one might actually go about it.

Not to be defeated, however, I turn to the Oracle of Everything – Google – with which I stumble upon something called Factorial Logistic Regression. I certainly won’t trouble you with what this means, not because I don’t want to but because I currently have no idea myself. Neither of my two supervisors – one of whom is Jim Himself – does either.

My only hope appears to lie in a library book entitled Regression Modeling Strategies. So the campaign continues…