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Common pitfalls when testing additivity of treatment mixtures with chi-square analyses

Pallmann, P. and Schaarschmidt, F. 2016. Common pitfalls when testing additivity of treatment mixtures with chi-square analyses. Journal of Applied Entomology 140 (1-2) , pp. 135-141. 10.1111/jen.12258

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Abstract

Studying interactions of multiple pesticides applied simultaneously in a mixture is a common task in phytopathology. Statistical methods are employed to test whether the treatment components influence each other's efficacy in a promotive or inhibitory way (synergistic or antagonistic interaction) or rather act independent of one another (additivity). The trouble is that widely used procedures based on chi-square tests are often seriously flawed, either because people apply them in a preposterous way or because the method simply does not fit the problem at hand. Browsing recent volumes of entomological journals, we found that numerous researchers have (in all likelihood unwittingly) analysed their data as if they had had a sample size of 100 or, equally bad, a sample size of one! We show how to avoid such poor practices and further argue that chi-square testing is, even if applied correctly (meaning that no technical errors are made), a limited purpose tool for assessing treatment interactions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0931-2048
Date of Acceptance: 9 July 2015
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2017 21:05
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/105709

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