Basic statistics part 4: understanding P values

The Logic of Science

If you’ve ever read a scientific paper, you’ve probably seen a statement like, “There was a significant difference between the groups (P = 0.002)” or “there was not a significant correlation between the variables (P = 0.1138),” but you may not have known exactly what those numbers actually mean. Despite their prevalence and wide-spread use, many people don’t understand what P values actually are or how to deal with the information that they give you, and understanding P values is vital if you want to be able to comprehend scientific results. Therefore, I am going to give a simple explanation of how P values work and how you should read them. I will try to avoid any complex math so that the basic concepts are easy for everyone to understand even if math isn’t your forte.

Note: for the sake of this post, I am not going to enter into…

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