Why P Values Are Not a Useful Measure of Evidence in Statistical Significance Testing
Reporting p values from statistical significance tests is common in psychology's empirical literature. Sir Ronald Fisher saw the p value as playing a useful role in knowledge development by acting as an "objective" measure of inductive evidence against the null hypothesis. We review several reasons why the p value is an unobjective and inadequate measure of evidence when statistically testing hypotheses. A common theme throughout many of these reasons is that p values exaggerate the evidence against H0. This, in turn, calls into question the validity of much published work based on comparatively small, including .05, p values. Indeed, if researchers were fully informed about the limitations of the p value as a measure of evidence, this inferential index could not possibly enjoy its ongoing ubiquity. Replication with extension research focusing on sample statistics, effect sizes, and their confidence intervals is a better vehicle for reliable knowledge development than using p values. Fisher would also have agreed with the need for replication research.
One article on PainScience.com cites Hubbard 2008 as a source:
- PS Statistical Significance Abuse — A lot of research makes scientific evidence seem more “significant” than it is