Bras. Political Sci. Rev.2013;7(1):31-55.

When is statistical significance not significant?

Dalson Britto Figueiredo Filho, Ranulfo Paranhos, Enivaldo C. da Rocha, Mariana Batista, José Alexandre da Silva Jr., Manoel L. Wanderley D. Santos, Jacira Guiro Marino

DOI: 10.1590/1981-382171201300031

The article provides a non-technical introduction to the p value statistics. Its main purpose is to help researchers make sense of the appropriate role of the p value statistics in empirical political science research. On methodological grounds, we use replication, simulations and observational data to show when statistical significance is not significant. We argue that: (1) scholars must always graphically analyze their data before interpreting the p value; (2) it is pointless to estimate the p value for non-random samples; (3) the p value is highly affected by the sample size, and (4) it is pointless to estimate the p value when dealing with data on population.

When is statistical significance not significant?

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