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Activity Number: 160 - Editor's Choice: Papers Published in the American Statistician During 2018
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Monday, July 29, 2019 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: Biometrics Section
Abstract #301681
Title: Abandon Statistical Significance
Author(s): Blakeley McShane* and Andrew Gelman and Christian Robert and David Gal and Jennifer Tackett
Companies: Northwestern University and Columbia University and Ceremade - Université Paris-Dauphine and University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University
Keywords: null hypothesis significance testing; statistical significance; p-value; replication; sociology of science

We discuss problems the NHST paradigm poses for replication and more broadly in the biomedical and social sciences as well as how these problems remain unresolved by proposals involving modified p-value thresholds, confidence intervals, and Bayes factors. Instead, we propose to abandon statistical significance, to drop the NHST paradigm—and the p-value thresholds intrinsic to it—as the default for research, publication, and discovery in the biomedical and social sciences. We propose that the p-value be demoted from its threshold screening role and instead, treated continuously, be considered along with currently subordinate factors (e.g., related prior evidence, plausibility of mechanism, study design and data quality, real world costs and benefits, novelty of finding, etc.) as just one among many pieces of evidence. We have no desire to “ban” p-values or other purely statistical measures. Rather, we believe that such measures should not be thresholded and that, thresholded or not, they should not take priority over the currently subordinate factors. We also argue that it seldom makes sense to calibrate evidence as a function of p-values or other purely statistical measures.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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