# How to arrive at the best model fit

Source:`vignettes/check_model_practical.Rmd`

`check_model_practical.Rmd`

This vignette shows how to use the *performance* package to
check the fit of a model, how to detect misspecification and how to
improve your model. The basic workflow of the *performance*
package can be summarized as follows:

- fit a regression model
- check the model fit and assess model fit indices
- if necessary, fit another model that could potentially improve the fit
- compare the model fit indices and perform statistical tests to determine which model is the best fit

In the following, we will demonstrate this workflow using a model
with a count response variable. We will fit a Poisson regression model
to the Salamanders dataset from the *glmmTMB* package. The
dataset contains counts of salamanders in different sites, along with
information on the number of mines and the species of salamanders. We
will check the model fit and assess the model fit indices.

Problems that may arise with count response variables are *zero
inflation* and *overdispersion*. Zero inflation occurs when
there are more zeros in the data than expected under the Poisson
distribution. Overdispersion occurs when the variance of the data is
greater than the mean, which violates the assumption of equidispersion
in the Poisson distribution.

We will check for these problems and suggest ways to improve the model fit, i.e. if necessary, we will fit another model that could potentially improve the fit. Finally, we will compare the model fit indices and perform statistical tests to determine which model is the best fit.

### Fit the initial model

We start with a generalized mixed effects model, using a Poisson distribution.

```
library(performance)
model1 <- glmmTMB::glmmTMB(
count ~ mined + spp + (1 | site),
family = poisson,
data = glmmTMB::Salamanders
)
```

First, let us look at the summary of the model.

```
library(parameters)
model_parameters(model1)
#> # Fixed Effects
#>
#> Parameter | Log-Mean | SE | 95% CI | z | p
#> ---------------------------------------------------------------
#> (Intercept) | -1.62 | 0.24 | [-2.10, -1.15] | -6.76 | < .001
#> mined [no] | 2.26 | 0.28 | [ 1.72, 2.81] | 8.08 | < .001
#> spp [PR] | -1.39 | 0.22 | [-1.81, -0.96] | -6.44 | < .001
#> spp [DM] | 0.23 | 0.13 | [-0.02, 0.48] | 1.79 | 0.074
#> spp [EC-A] | -0.77 | 0.17 | [-1.11, -0.43] | -4.50 | < .001
#> spp [EC-L] | 0.62 | 0.12 | [ 0.39, 0.86] | 5.21 | < .001
#> spp [DES-L] | 0.68 | 0.12 | [ 0.45, 0.91] | 5.75 | < .001
#> spp [DF] | 0.08 | 0.13 | [-0.18, 0.34] | 0.60 | 0.549
#>
#> # Random Effects
#>
#> Parameter | Coefficient | 95% CI
#> -------------------------------------------------
#> SD (Intercept: site) | 0.58 | [0.38, 0.87]
#>
#> Uncertainty intervals (equal-tailed) and p-values (two-tailed) computed
#> using a Wald z-distribution approximation.
#>
#> The model has a log- or logit-link. Consider using `exponentiate =
#> TRUE` to interpret coefficients as ratios.
```

We see a lot of statistically significant estimates here. No matter, which philosophy you follow, our conclusions we draw from statistical models will be inaccurate if our modeling assumptions are a poor fit for the situation. Hence, checking model fit is essential.

In *performance*, we can conduct a comprehensive visual
inspection of our model fit using `check_model()`

. We won’t
go into details of all the plots here, but you can find more information
on all created diagnostic plots in the dedicated
vignette.

For now, we want to focus on the *posterior predictive
checks*, *dispersion and zero-inflation* as well as the Q-Q
plot (*uniformity of residuals*).

```
check_model(model1, dot_size = 1.2)
#> `check_outliers()` does not yet support models of class `glmmTMB`.
```

Note that unlike `plot()`

, which is a base R function to
create diagnostic plots, `check_model()`

relies on
*simulated residuals* for the Q-Q plot, which is more accurate
for non-Gaussian models. See this
vignette and the documentation of `simulate_residuals()`

for further details.

The above plot suggests that we may have issues with overdispersion
and/or zero-inflation. We can check for these problems using
`check_overdispersion()`

and
`check_zeroinflation()`

, which will perform statistical tests
(based on simulated residuals). These tests can additionally be used
beyond the visual inspection.

```
check_overdispersion(model1)
#> # Overdispersion test
#>
#> dispersion ratio = 2.324
#> Pearson's Chi-Squared = 1475.875
#> p-value = < 0.001
#> Overdispersion detected.
```

```
check_zeroinflation(model1)
#> # Check for zero-inflation
#>
#> Observed zeros: 387
#> Predicted zeros: 311
#> Ratio: 0.80
#> Model is underfitting zeros (probable zero-inflation).
```

As we can see, our model seems to suffer both from overdispersion and zero-inflation.

### First attempt at improving the model fit

We can try to improve the model fit by fitting a model with zero-inflation component:

```
model2 <- glmmTMB::glmmTMB(
count ~ mined + spp + (1 | site),
ziformula = ~ mined + spp,
family = poisson,
data = glmmTMB::Salamanders
)
check_model(model2, dot_size = 1.2)
#> `check_outliers()` does not yet support models of class `glmmTMB`.
```

Looking at the above plots, the zero-inflation seems to be addressed
properly (see especially *posterior predictive checks* and
*uniformity of residuals*, the Q-Q plot). However, the
overdispersion still could be present. We can check for these problems
using `check_overdispersion()`

and
`check_zeroinflation()`

again.

```
check_overdispersion(model2)
#> # Overdispersion test
#>
#> dispersion ratio = 1.679
#> p-value = 0.008
#> Overdispersion detected.
```

```
check_zeroinflation(model2)
#> # Check for zero-inflation
#>
#> Observed zeros: 387
#> Predicted zeros: 387
#> Ratio: 1.00
#> Model seems ok, ratio of observed and predicted zeros is within the
#> tolerance range (p > .999).
```

Indeed, the overdispersion is still present.

### Second attempt at improving the model fit

We can try to address this issue by fitting a negative binomial model instead of using a Poisson distribution.

```
model3 <- glmmTMB::glmmTMB(
count ~ mined + spp + (1 | site),
ziformula = ~ mined + spp,
family = glmmTMB::nbinom1,
data = glmmTMB::Salamanders
)
check_model(model3, dot_size = 1.2)
#> `check_outliers()` does not yet support models of class `glmmTMB`.
```

Now we see that the plot showing *misspecified dispersion and
zero-inflation* suggests that the overdispersion is better addressed
than before. Let us check again:

```
check_overdispersion(model3)
#> # Overdispersion test
#>
#> dispersion ratio = 1.081
#> p-value = 0.54
#> No overdispersion detected.
```

```
check_zeroinflation(model3)
#> # Check for zero-inflation
#>
#> Observed zeros: 387
#> Predicted zeros: 389
#> Ratio: 1.00
#> Model seems ok, ratio of observed and predicted zeros is within the
#> tolerance range (p > .999).
```

### Comparing model fit indices

There are different model fit indices that can be used to compare
models. For our purpose, we rely on the Akaike Information Criterion
(AIC), the corrected Akaike Information Criterion (AICc), the Bayesian
Information Criterion (BIC), and the Proper Scoring Rules. We can
compare the models using `compare_performance()`

and
`plot()`

.

```
result <- compare_performance(
model1, model2, model3,
metrics = c("AIC", "AICc", "BIC", "SCORE")
)
result
#> # Comparison of Model Performance Indices
#>
#> Name | Model | AIC (weights) | AICc (weights) | BIC (weights) | Score_log | Score_spherical
#> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#> model1 | glmmTMB | 1962.8 (<.001) | 1963.1 (<.001) | 2003.0 (<.001) | -1.457 | 0.032
#> model2 | glmmTMB | 1785.5 (<.001) | 1786.5 (<.001) | 1861.4 (<.001) | -1.328 | 0.032
#> model3 | glmmTMB | 1653.7 (>.999) | 1654.8 (>.999) | 1734.1 (>.999) | -1.275 | 0.032
```

```
plot(result)
```

The weighted AIC and BIC range from 0 to 1, indicating better model fit the closer the value is to 1. The AICc is a corrected version of the AIC for small sample sizes. The Proper Scoring Rules range from -Inf to 0, with higher values (i.e. closer to 0) indicating better model fit.

The above results suggest that indeed our third model is the best fit.

### Statistical tests for model comparison

We can also perform statistical tests to determine which model is the
best fit using `test_performance()`

or `anova()`

.
`test_performance()`

automatically selects an appropriate
test based on the model family. You can also call the different tests,
like `test_likelihoodratio()`

, `test_bf()`

,
`test_wald()`

or `test_vuong()`

directly.

```
test_performance(model1, model2, model3)
#> Name | Model | BF
#> -------------------------
#> model1 | glmmTMB |
#> model2 | glmmTMB | > 1000
#> model3 | glmmTMB | > 1000
#> Models were detected as nested (in terms of fixed parameters) and are compared in sequential order.
```

We see, first, that `test_performance()`

used the Bayes
factor (based on BIC comparison) to compare the models. And second, that
both the second and third model seem to be significantly better than the
first model.

Now we compare the second against the third model

```
test_performance(model2, model3)
#> Name | Model | BF
#> -------------------------
#> model2 | glmmTMB |
#> model3 | glmmTMB | > 1000
#> Models were detected as nested (in terms of fixed parameters) and are compared in sequential order.
```

```
test_likelihoodratio(model2, model3)
#> # Likelihood-Ratio-Test (LRT) for Model Comparison (ML-estimator)
#>
#> Name | Model | df | df_diff | Chi2 | p
#> -------------------------------------------------
#> model2 | glmmTMB | 17 | | |
#> model3 | glmmTMB | 18 | 1 | 133.83 | < .001
```

We see that both the Bayes factor and likelihood ratio test suggest that the third model is significantly better than the second model.

What does this mean for our inference?

```
model_parameters(model3)
#> # Fixed Effects (Count Model)
#>
#> Parameter | Log-Mean | SE | 95% CI | z | p
#> ---------------------------------------------------------------
#> (Intercept) | -0.75 | 0.34 | [-1.40, -0.09] | -2.23 | 0.026
#> mined [no] | 1.56 | 0.33 | [ 0.92, 2.20] | 4.78 | < .001
#> spp [PR] | -1.57 | 0.30 | [-2.16, -0.97] | -5.15 | < .001
#> spp [DM] | 0.07 | 0.20 | [-0.32, 0.46] | 0.34 | 0.735
#> spp [EC-A] | -0.93 | 0.27 | [-1.45, -0.41] | -3.51 | < .001
#> spp [EC-L] | 0.31 | 0.20 | [-0.07, 0.69] | 1.59 | 0.111
#> spp [DES-L] | 0.41 | 0.19 | [ 0.04, 0.79] | 2.19 | 0.028
#> spp [DF] | -0.12 | 0.20 | [-0.51, 0.28] | -0.57 | 0.568
#>
#> # Fixed Effects (Zero-Inflation Component)
#>
#> Parameter | Log-Odds | SE | 95% CI | z | p
#> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#> (Intercept) | 2.28 | 1.12 | [ 0.08, 4.47] | 2.04 | 0.042
#> mined [no] | -21.36 | 4655.41 | [ -9145.81, 9103.08] | -4.59e-03 | 0.996
#> spp [PR] | -24.37 | 92198.78 | [ -1.81e+05, 1.81e+05] | -2.64e-04 | > .999
#> spp [DM] | -3.63 | 2.01 | [ -7.57, 0.31] | -1.80 | 0.071
#> spp [EC-A] | -2.79 | 1.95 | [ -6.61, 1.03] | -1.43 | 0.152
#> spp [EC-L] | -2.84 | 1.41 | [ -5.59, -0.08] | -2.02 | 0.044
#> spp [DES-L] | -3.56 | 1.78 | [ -7.04, -0.07] | -2.00 | 0.045
#> spp [DF] | -20.55 | 4284.59 | [ -8418.20, 8377.09] | -4.80e-03 | 0.996
#>
#> # Dispersion
#>
#> Parameter | Coefficient | 95% CI
#> ----------------------------------------
#> (Intercept) | 2.02 | [1.54, 2.67]
#>
#> # Random Effects Variances
#>
#> Parameter | Coefficient | 95% CI
#> -------------------------------------------------
#> SD (Intercept: site) | 0.46 | [0.27, 0.76]
#>
#> Uncertainty intervals (equal-tailed) and p-values (two-tailed) computed
#> using a Wald z-distribution approximation.
```

Obviously, although we might have found the best fitting model,
coefficients for the *zero-inflation* component of our model look
rather spurious. We have *very* high coefficients here. We still
might find a better distributional family for our model, and try
`nbinom2`

now.

```
model4 <- glmmTMB::glmmTMB(
count ~ mined + spp + (1 | site),
ziformula = ~ mined + spp,
family = glmmTMB::nbinom2,
data = glmmTMB::Salamanders
)
check_model(model4, dot_size = 1.2)
#> `check_outliers()` does not yet support models of class `glmmTMB`.
```

```
check_overdispersion(model4)
#> # Overdispersion test
#>
#> dispersion ratio = 0.958
#> p-value = 0.93
#> No overdispersion detected.
```

```
check_zeroinflation(model4)
#> # Check for zero-inflation
#>
#> Observed zeros: 387
#> Predicted zeros: 386
#> Ratio: 1.00
#> Model seems ok, ratio of observed and predicted zeros is within the
#> tolerance range (p = 0.952).
```

```
test_likelihoodratio(model3, model4)
#> Some of the nested models seem to be identical and probably only vary in
#> their random effects.
#> # Likelihood-Ratio-Test (LRT) for Model Comparison (ML-estimator)
#>
#> Name | Model | df | df_diff | Chi2 | p
#> ------------------------------------------------
#> model3 | glmmTMB | 18 | | |
#> model4 | glmmTMB | 18 | 0 | 16.64 | < .001
```

```
model_parameters(model4)
#> # Fixed Effects (Count Model)
#>
#> Parameter | Log-Mean | SE | 95% CI | z | p
#> --------------------------------------------------------------
#> (Intercept) | -0.61 | 0.41 | [-1.40, 0.18] | -1.51 | 0.132
#> mined [no] | 1.43 | 0.37 | [ 0.71, 2.15] | 3.90 | < .001
#> spp [PR] | -0.96 | 0.64 | [-2.23, 0.30] | -1.50 | 0.134
#> spp [DM] | 0.17 | 0.24 | [-0.29, 0.63] | 0.73 | 0.468
#> spp [EC-A] | -0.39 | 0.34 | [-1.06, 0.28] | -1.13 | 0.258
#> spp [EC-L] | 0.49 | 0.24 | [ 0.02, 0.96] | 2.05 | 0.041
#> spp [DES-L] | 0.59 | 0.23 | [ 0.14, 1.04] | 2.59 | 0.010
#> spp [DF] | -0.11 | 0.24 | [-0.59, 0.36] | -0.46 | 0.642
#>
#> # Fixed Effects (Zero-Inflation Component)
#>
#> Parameter | Log-Odds | SE | 95% CI | z | p
#> ---------------------------------------------------------------
#> (Intercept) | 0.91 | 0.63 | [-0.32, 2.14] | 1.45 | 0.147
#> mined [no] | -2.56 | 0.60 | [-3.75, -1.38] | -4.24 | < .001
#> spp [PR] | 1.16 | 1.33 | [-1.45, 3.78] | 0.87 | 0.384
#> spp [DM] | -0.94 | 0.80 | [-2.51, 0.63] | -1.17 | 0.241
#> spp [EC-A] | 1.04 | 0.71 | [-0.36, 2.44] | 1.46 | 0.144
#> spp [EC-L] | -0.56 | 0.73 | [-1.99, 0.86] | -0.77 | 0.439
#> spp [DES-L] | -0.89 | 0.75 | [-2.37, 0.58] | -1.19 | 0.236
#> spp [DF] | -2.54 | 2.18 | [-6.82, 1.74] | -1.16 | 0.244
#>
#> # Dispersion
#>
#> Parameter | Coefficient | 95% CI
#> ----------------------------------------
#> (Intercept) | 1.51 | [0.93, 2.46]
#>
#> # Random Effects Variances
#>
#> Parameter | Coefficient | 95% CI
#> -------------------------------------------------
#> SD (Intercept: site) | 0.38 | [0.17, 0.87]
#>
#> Uncertainty intervals (equal-tailed) and p-values (two-tailed) computed
#> using a Wald z-distribution approximation.
```

Based on these results, we might even go with
`model4`

.

## Conclusion

Statistics is hard. It is not just about fitting a model, but also about checking the model fit and improving the model. This also requires domain knowledge to consider whether all relevant predictors are included in the model (and whether all included predictors are relevant!).

The *performance* package provides a comprehensive set of
tools to help you with this task. We have demonstrated how to use these
tools to check the fit of a model, detect misspecification, and improve
the model. We have also shown how to compare the model fit indices and
perform statistical tests to determine which model is the best fit. We
hope this vignette has been helpful in guiding you through this
process.