I'm a pharmacologist and, in my experience, almost all papers in basic biomedical research use Student's t-test (either to support inference or to conform to expectations...). A couple of years ago it came to my attention that Student's t-test is not the most efficient test that might be used: sequential tests offer much more power for any sample size, or a far smaller sample size on average for equivalent power.
Sequential procedures of varying complexity are used in clinical research but I've never seen one used in a basic biomedical research publication. I note that they are also absent from the introductory level statistics textbooks that are all that most basic scientists are likely to see.
My question is three-fold:
- Given the very substantial efficiency advantage of sequential tests, why are they not more widely used?
- Is there a drawback associated with the used of sequential methods that would mean that their use by non-statisticians is to be discouraged?
- Are statistics students taught about sequential testing procedures?