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Title page for ETD etd-12132017-210242

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Nelson, Michael Cader
Author's Email Address nelsonm555@gmail.com
URN etd-12132017-210242
Title Simpler Isn't Better: Ordinary Least Squares Regression Weights Make Better Predictions than Simple Alternative Weights in Realistic Simulations
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andrew Tomarken Committee Co-Chair
Joseph Rogers Committee Co-Chair
Bethany Rittle-Johnson Committee Member
David Lubinski Committee Member
  • unit weights
  • equal weights
  • improper weights
  • prediction
  • simulation
  • replication
  • ordinary least squares
  • regression
  • alternative weights
  • correlation weights
Date of Defense 2017-11-30
Availability unrestricted
Some researchers advocate using alternative regression weights, as opposed to ordinary least squares (OLS) regression weights, when model predictability is low or when there are few observations per predictor. Perhaps the most comprehensive simulation study to date on the topic, "The Superiority of Simple Alternatives to Regression for Social Science Predictions" by Dana and Dawes (2004), concluded that, in almost every circumstance likely to be encountered by a social scientist, researchers should weight predictors equally or by their correlations with the criterion. Though this recommendation has not been adopted widely, their study remains unreplicated and their conclusion unchallenged in the literature. The present set of studies partially replicate Dana and Dawes (2004) and show that, when parameters are restricted to a very plausible range for the social sciences, the performance of equal and correlation weights can be quite different from that described by Dana and Dawes. The resulting recommendation for researchers is that OLS regression ought not be abandoned except in the very rare case of strong a priori knowledge of the relationships among model parameters.

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