A fast Monte Carlo test for preferential sampling

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A fast Monte Carlo test for preferential sampling

TitleA fast Monte Carlo test for preferential sampling
Publication TypeUnpublished
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsWatson, J

The preferential sampling of locations chosen to observe a spatio-temporal process has been identified as a major problem across multiple fields. Predictions of the process can be severely biased when standard statistical methodologies are applied to preferentially sampled data without adjustment. Currently, methods that can adjust for preferential sampling are rarely implemented in the software packages most popular with researchers. Furthermore, they are technically demanding to design and fit. This paper presents a fast and intuitive Monte Carlo test for detecting preferential sampling. The test can be applied across a wide range of data types. Importantly, the method can also help with the discovery of a set of informative covariates that can sufficiently control for the preferential sampling. The discovery of these covariates can justify continued use of standard methodologies. A thorough simulation study is presented to demonstrate both the power and validity of the test in various data settings. The test is shown to attain high power for non-Gaussian data with sample sizes as low as 50. Finally, two previously-published case studies are revisited and new insights into the nature of the informative sampling are gained. The test can be implemented with the R package PStestR