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Differences in Alpha Level as It Related

to Hard and Soft Sciences

Decisions about alpha level may be different, especially as it relates from hard sciences to social sciences. For example, a medical trial for cancer treatments conducts their statistical tests at .0001 - so for every 1 out of 10,000 patients, there may be issues, sickness or even death. For social science, we use alpha .05. We are comfortable with performing research, for example, on students. So we are satisfied with losing 5 out of 100 students or having our results being incorrect 5 out of 100 times. Do you agree with these alpha levels? Why or why not? What if your child's education and the teacher assigned to him/her would be successful 95 out of 100 times?

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