Significance and importance: some common misapprehensions about statistics

John D. Currey, Paul D. Baxter, Jonathan W. Pitchford

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


There are many common misapprehensions about statistics that occur in the literature We are sure that the three misapprehensions we deal with in this short review are widespread They concern.

1) what p-values mean.

2) what all insignificant result means. and what it does riot mean: the question of the 'power' of a statistical test,

3) the difference between importance and statistical significance.

We produce no formulae or recipes for dealing with particular situations, instead We concentrate oil the commonsense use of simple statistics We emphasise that if the use of any but the simplest statistics is intended. it is much better to,et proper statistical help before starting experiments. rather than afterwards. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons. Ltd

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-502
Number of pages4
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • p-values, biological significance
  • statistical analysis
  • type I error, non-significant results

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