Regression toward the mean is a complex statistical principle that plays a crucial role in any research involving the measurement of change. This primer is designed to help researchers more fully understand this phenomenon and avoid common errors in interpretation. The book presents new methods of graphing regression toward the mean, facilitating comprehension with a wealth of figures and diagrams. Special attention is given to applications related to program or treatment evaluation. Numerous concrete examples illustrate the ways researchers all too often attribute effects to an intervention or other causal variable without considering regression artifacts as an alternative explanation for change. Also discussed are instances when problems are actually created, instead of solved, by “correction” for regression toward the mean. Throughout, the authors strive to use nontechnical language and to keep simulations and formulas as accessible as possible.
This title is part of the Methodology in the Social Sciences Series, edited by Todd D. Little, PhD.