Graduate school is one stage along our path of lifelong learning. Our goal should be to develop knowledge systems that will make our lives and work more effective and more rewarding.
Knowledge systems about interpretation of data and about design of investigations are central to accomplishment. Such knowledge is needed in every field of psychology. Such knowledge can also help with some problems of everyday life, both in work and in home life.
Understanding the structure and functioning of such knowledge systems is prerequisite for effective teaching, as measured by effective learning. Without such understanding, teaching and learning will be haphazard and doctrinaire.
The theme of this book is that design and analysis are best learned within an empirical framework. This empirical direction requires both justification and elaboration: Justification for the substantial differences from comparable texts; elaboration because this book is only one step and needs further development.
The strategy of this book flows from the Experimental Pyramid, reproduced on the next page. Empirical inquiry is largely extrastatistical inference; statistical inference is a minor means to an extrastatistical end. The usefulness of statistical inference depends on how well it is subordinated to and integrated with scientific inference, that is, with extrastatistical knowledge systems.