Basic resources for those interested in learning more about statistics and experimental design

#1
I am a historian. Not surprisingly, my main interest in the paranormal is historical. Nevertheless, I would like to contribute to the discussion on cutting-edge psi experiments. So, I ask the better informed members of the board, what are some resources - books, websites, etc. - that you would recommend for someone willing to put in the effort to become conversant with the basics of statistics and experimental design?

Thanks in advance!
 
#2
Hey Troy, welcome to the forum!

I'm a lay person scientifically as well and am no expert in experimental design but also have been trying to learn what I can of it.

The Cochrane group is a group of medical scientists who over the last two decades have been researching and developing best practices for scientific research in the medical field and a lot of it carries over to parapsychology.

http://www.cochrane.org/

They wrote a handbook which I find pretty accessible to the layperson: http://www.cochrane.org/handbook

You might want to read in particular chapter 8: Assessing the risk of bias in included studies and chapter 9: Analysing data and undertaking meta-analysis.


Another paper you might want to look at is by Iaonnidis (who is also involved with the Cochrane Group: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124. It's a bit less lay friendly but still accessible IMO in getting the gist of the issues he's looking at.

Here's a link to J.E. Kennedy's site: he's a parapsychologist who has written a number of fairly accessible articles involving methodological issues in parapsycholgy: http://jeksite.org/psi.htm#t2.
 
#3
Hi Troy. I wish you luck in your research. I'd like to ask out of curiosity, what's the basis for your interest? Is it purely historical or are you looking for evidence of the existence of something in particular?
 
#5
Hi Troy. I wish you luck in your research. I'd like to ask out of curiosity, what's the basis for your interest? Is it purely historical or are you looking for evidence of the existence of something in particular?
Hi bishop,

I am a medieval historian by trade, so I am interested in the paranormal phenomena associated with the Catholic mystics of those centuries: levitation, luminous phenomena, inedia, clairvoyance, etc. (See the fascinating book The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism by Herbert Thurston.) I also find it fascinating that similar phenomena crop up in other wisdom traditions as well, and that they all seem to occur in the context of altered states of consciousness. In this respect, I find current attempts to study meditation in conjunction with psi abilities, such as those of Dean Radin and the folks at DOPS, to be potentially theoretically important.

I am also interested in the early history of psychical research. It's apparent to me that conventional histories of psychology leave out just how important early psychical researchers were to the foundation of the discipline, or if they're acknowledged at all, it's with an air of embarrassment. Scholar Andreas Sommer - http://forbiddenhistories.wordpress.com/ - is doing a lot of good work here to correct the traditional narrative.

So, yes, my interest is historical, but it's also tied to a search for compelling evidence for the paranormal.
 
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