Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 210-215

The P value and statistical significance: Misunderstandings, explanations, challenges, and alternatives

Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chittaranjan Andrade
Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_193_19

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The calculation of a P value in research and especially the use of a threshold to declare the statistical significance of the P value have both been challenged in recent years. There are at least two important reasons for this challenge: research data contain much more meaning than is summarized in a P value and its statistical significance, and these two concepts are frequently misunderstood and consequently inappropriately interpreted. This article considers why 5% may be set as a reasonable cut-off for statistical significance, explains the correct interpretation of P < 0.05 and other values of P, examines arguments for and against the concept of statistical significance, and suggests other and better ways for analyzing data and for presenting, interpreting, and discussing the results.

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