Quality & Quantity

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 73–91 | Cite as

Comparison of Hypothesis Testing and Bayesian Model Selection



The main goal of both Bayesian model selection and classical hypotheses testing is to make inferences with respect to the state of affairs in a population of interest. The main differences between both approaches are the explicit use of prior information by Bayesians, and the explicit use of null distributions by the classicists. Formalization of prior information in prior distributions is often difficult. In this paper two practical approaches (encompassing priors and training data) to specify prior distributions will be presented. The computation of null distributions is relatively easy. However, as will be illustrated, a straightforward interpretation of the resulting p-values is not always easy. Bayesian model selection can be used to compute posterior probabilities for each of a number of competing models. This provides an alternative for the currently prevalent testing of hypotheses using p-values. Both approaches will be compared and illustrated using case studies. Each case study fits in the framework of the normal linear model, that is, analysis of variance and multiple regression.


Bayesian model selection encompassing prior posterior model probability p-value training data 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Methodology and StatisticsUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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