Nav: Home

New podcast explores why 'statistically significant' is so misunderstood

May 21, 2019

'Statistical significance' is one of the most widely misunderstood phrases in science, according to a 2013 Scientific American article.

It's a controversial topic. Probability values (p-values) have been used as a way to measure the significance of research studies since the 1920s, with thousands of researchers relying on them since. With this reliance, though, comes misunderstanding and, therefore, misuse.

This misunderstanding is what the latest episode of the How Researchers Changed the World podcast explores, in conversation with statistician Ron Wasserstein.

In particular, the podcast focuses on Ron's research into the misuse of p-values as a measure of statistical significance, which culminated in his 2016 paper: 'The American Statistical Association's statement on P-values: Context, Process and Purpose.'

Significance tests and p-values are widely used, according to Ron, to remove 'uncertainty' from scientific research. But uncertainty exists everywhere, and scientific research is no exception. For Ron, uncertainty in research should be embraced and accepted.

"Significance tests and dichotomised p-values ... have turned many researchers into what I'll call 'scientific snowbirds', trying to avoid dealing with uncertainty by escaping to a happier place." - Ron Wasserstein

With increasing use, and misuse, of p-values, statistics as a whole was starting to get a bad name. Some journals even banned the use of p-values and other statistical methods. So, Ron was tasked with leading the creation of a framework outlining how p-values should be used in research, which would be published as a statement by the American Statistical Association , a leading authority in the statistics world.

"We were challenged to do the ASA statement on p-values because of these attacks on statistics as a whole field of research." - Ron Wasserstein

It wasn't a simple task, but although the debate regarding p-values continues, the statement has had an impact on the research world beyond what Ron could ever have imagined...
-end-
The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Android podcast providers - or head to http://www.howresearchers.com.

For more information, or to interview Ron Wasserstein, please contact: newsroom@taylorandfrancis.com

Presented by Dr Kaitlyn Regehr

Alongside the researcher, the podcast is presented by Dr Kaitlyn Regehr. Dr Kaitlyn Regehr is an academic scholar who specializes in digital and modern culture, gender studies, and new technology. She also regularly features on BBC World as a topic specialist.

Supported by Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group are proud to support How Researchers Changed the World.

As one of the world's leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, eBooks, and reference works, Taylor & Francis Group provides people all over the world with the knowledge to grow their careers, expand their education, and advance their field.

Challenge your thinking at http://www.tandfonline.com

Produced by Monchü

The How Researchers series is written and produced by Monchü. They work with world changing organisations to make the world a fairer happier place with strategy and design thinking.

Find out more at http://www.monchu.uk

Taylor & Francis Group

Related Scientific Research Articles:

Calibration method improves scientific research performed with smartphone cameras
Although smartphones and other consumer cameras are increasingly used for scientific applications, it's difficult to compare and combine data from different devices.
AccessLab: New workshops to broaden access to scientific research
A team from the transdisciplinary laboratory FoAM Kernow and the British Science Association detail how to run an innovative approach to understanding evidence called AccessLab in a paper published on May 28 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology.
University of Idaho study finds scientific reproducibility does not equate to scientific truth
Reproducible scientific results are not always true and true scientific results are not always reproducible, according to a mathematical model produced by University of Idaho researchers.
Scientific research will help to understand the origin of life in the universe
Scientists from Samara University and several universities in the USA have proposed and experimentally confirmed new fundamental chemical mechanisms for the synthesis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
New research helps to inform the design of scientific advisory committees
At a time of 'fake news' and a growing mistrust of scientific experts, researchers at York University's Global Strategy Lab have produced new research to help inform the design of scientific advisory committees and help maximize the application of high-quality scientific research towards future policy and program decisions.
Jumping to scientific conclusions challenges biomedical research
Improving experimental design and statistical analyses alone will not solve the reproducibility crisis in science, argues Ray Dingledine in a societal impact article published in eNeuro.
Student develops gaming technology for environmental scientific research
A Ph.D. student at The University of Manchester has developed a new method and software for using computer game technology for complex scientific and engineering simulations.
Increased scientific rigor will improve wildlife research and management
Wildlife management relies on rigorous science that produces reliable knowledge because it increases accurate understanding of the natural world and informs management decisions.
New approach on research and design for CQD catalysts in World Scientific NANO
A new study that provides a new approach for the rational design of carbon quantum dots (CQD) modified catalysts with potential applications in energy and environmental areas has published in World Scientific's NANO journal.
US scientific research enterprise should take action to protect integrity in research
All stakeholders in the scientific research enterprise -- researchers, institutions, publishers, funders, scientific societies, and federal agencies -- should improve their practices and policies to respond to threats to the integrity of research, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
More Scientific Research News and Scientific Research Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.