Decimal Dust, Significant Digits, and the Search for Stars
Bedeian, Arthur G.; Sturman, Michael C.; Streiner, David L.
The practice of rounding statistical results to two decimal places is one of a large number of heuristics followed in the social sciences. In evaluating this heuristic, the authors conducted simulations to investigate the precision of simple correlations. They considered a true correlation of .15 and ran simulations in which the sample sizes were 60, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 10,000, and 100,000. They then looked at the digits in the correlations’ first, second, and third decimal places to determine their reproducibility. They conclude that when n
estimated and rounding numbers; significant digits; management; heuristic; simulation; studies; statistical precision; confidence intervals
Required Publisher Statement: © SAGE. Final version published as: Bedeian, A. G., Sturman, M. C., & Streiner, D. L. (2009). Decimal dust, significant digits, and the search for stars. Organizational Research Methods, 12(4), 687-694. doi: 10.1177/1094428108321153. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.This article was a finalist for the 2009 ORM Editorial Review Board Best Publication of the Year award.