University of Hertfordshire

Normal Enough? Tools to Aid Decision Making

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Early online date4 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


When undertaking quantitative hypothesis testing, social researchers need to decide whether the data with which they are working is suitable for parametric analyses to be used. When considering the relevant assumptions they can examine graphs and summary statistics but the decision making process is subjective and must also take into account the robustness of the proposed tests to deviations from the assumptions. We review the contemporary advice on this issue available to researchers and look back to the roots of hypothesis testing and associated work undertaken by eminent statisticians since the 1930s. From this we create a set of flow charts to give researchers tools they can use to make decisions in a more objective manner.


This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Neil H. Spencer, Margaret Lay and Lindsey Kevan de Lopez, ‘Normal enough? Tools to aid decision making’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Vol. 20(2): 167-179, 2017, DOI: Published by Taylor & Francis.

ID: 9890128