Twelve Deadly Misconceptions

Steven Goodman (my favourite statistician worldwide) writes a lively article on how not to interpret a p-value (or confidence interval – it is really the same kind of thing, often miss-sold as a remedy for the p-value problem).[1] How not to is one thing, how to is another. To my mind, things went wrong when we transplanted the notion of hypothesis testing from the lab to the clinic. It has no place in clinical medicine because you can be near certain that the (literally) true value is neither HO or HA! What we are doing is estimating the probabilities of effects / associations of different sizes. In any event, Goodman’s article is an excellent grounding in what we are doing (and not doing) when we use standard (frequentist) statistical tests.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Goodman S. A Dirty Dozen: Twelve P-Value Misconceptions. Semin Hematol. 2008; 45: 135-40.



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