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Effect sizes and the interpretation of research results in international business

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  • Paul D Ellis

    (Department of Management & Marketing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Abstract

Journal editors and academy presidents are increasingly calling on researchers to evaluate the substantive, as opposed to the statistical, significance of their results. To measure the extent to which these calls have been heeded, I aggregated the meta-analytically derived effect size estimates obtained from 965 individual samples. I then surveyed 204 studies published in the Journal of International Business Studies. I found that the average effect size in international business research is small, and that most published studies lack the statistical power to detect such effects reliably. I also found that many authors confuse statistical with substantive significance when interpreting their research results. These practices have likely led to unacceptably high Type II error rates and invalid inferences regarding real-world effects. By emphasizing p values over their effect size estimates, researchers are under-selling their results and settling for contributions that are less than what they really have to offer. In view of this, I offer four recommendations for improving research and reporting practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul D Ellis, 2010. "Effect sizes and the interpretation of research results in international business," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 41(9), pages 1581-1588, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:41:y:2010:i:9:p:1581-1588
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kim, Jae H. & Ji, Philip Inyeob, 2015. "Significance testing in empirical finance: A critical review and assessment," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 1-14.
    2. repec:eee:ijrema:v:31:y:2014:i:3:p:317-326 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dimitratos, Pavlos & Buck, Trevor & Fletcher, Margaret & Li, Nicolas, 2016. "The motivation of international entrepreneurship: The case of Chinese transnational entrepreneurs," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 1103-1113.
    4. Chetty, Sylvie & Johanson, Martin & Martín Martín, Oscar, 2014. "Speed of internationalization: Conceptualization, measurement and validation," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 633-650.
    5. Wang, Danny T. & Gu, Flora F. & Tse, David K. & Yim, Chi Kin (Bennett), 2013. "When does FDI matter? The roles of local institutions and ethnic origins of FDI," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 450-465.
    6. Wulf, David & Bertsch, Valentin, 2016. "A natural language generation approach to support understanding and traceability of multi-dimensional preferential sensitivity analysis in multi-criteria decision making," MPRA Paper 75025, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:spr:manint:v:54:y:2014:i:2:d:10.1007_s11575-013-0185-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Zhan, Ge, 2013. "Statistical power in international business research: Study levels and data types," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 678-686.

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