Trends in the Use of Statistics in Major Advertising Journals Over Four Decades

Abstract: Abstract: The use of statistical techniques in data-based articles appearing in the International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research and Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising was analyzed over four decade intervals (i.e., 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s) and by journal. Among the trends, the study found: (1) nearly seven of every 10 journal articles reported statistical analyses (68.8% or 541 of 786); (2) the trend for statistically based articles was remarkably consistent over the time intervals and held true for the different advertising journals with one exception; (3) the use of different statistical techniques changed over time, with statistical techniques becoming more diverse and sophisticated through the years, but more so in some advertising journals than in others; (4)statistics were correctly applied in the majority of the research reports relative to ‘study purpose’; (5) the use of different statistical techniques varied by method of data collection generally and within articles appearing in three of the four journals; and (6) the presence or absence of hypotheses and/or research questions in the advertising studies was differentially associated with the application of different statistics. The inquiry serves to move advertising research forward in two ways: first, it documents how statistical analyses have changed over time and, second, it provides insight into where the field might be headed regarding the use of statistical techniques