Mixed Messages about Statistical Significance
A webpage explaining the difference between statistical and practical significance.Key Concepts addressed:
- 2-17 Don’t confuse “statistical significance” with “importance”
- 2-16 Confidence intervals should be reported
It’s very difficult to capture the essence of statistical significance in a brief primer. (Journalist Christie Aschwanden published a thoughtful piece, “Not even scientists can easily explain P values.”)
First, let’s at least be as concerned about clinical significance as we are about statistical significance. Journalists should keep that in mind as they write stories about studies, but it’s a good idea for the general public to understand the possible difference as well. In other words, did the result make a difference in people’s lives?