After reading too many papers that either are not reproducible or contain statistical errors (or both), the American Statistical Association (ASA) has been roused to action. Today the group released six principles for the use and interpretation of p values. P-values are used to search for differences between groups or treatments, to evaluate relationships between variables of interest, and for many other purposes. But the ASA says they are widely misused. Here are the six principles from the ASA statement:

P-values can indicate how incompatible the data are with a specified statistical model.P-values do not measure the probability that the studied hypothesis is true, or the probability that the data were produced by random chance alone.Scientific conclusions and business or policy decisions should not be based only on whether a p-value passes a specific threshold.Proper inference requires full reporting and transparency.A p-value, or statistical significance, does not measure the size of an effect or the importance of a result.By itself, a p-value does not provide a good measure of evidence regarding a model or hypothesis....

Ron Wasserstein [ASA Executive Director]: If the statement succeeds in its purpose, we will know it

because journals will stop using statistical significance to determine whether to accept an article. Instead, journals will be accepting papers based on clear and detailed description of the study design, execution, and analysis, having conclusions that are based on valid statistical interpretations and scientific arguments, and reported transparently and thoroughly enough to be rigorously scrutinized by others. I think this is what journal editors want to do, and some already do, but others are captivated by the seeming simplicity of statistical significance. [emphasis added]

*I've been clicking on too many Facebook ads.