Research – Miller on “Beyond Statistical Significance: A Holistic View of What Makes a Research Finding”

January 23, 2023


Students often believe that statistical significance is the only determinant of whether a quantitative result is “important.” In this paper, I review traditional null hypothesis statistical testing to identify what questions inferential statistics can and cannot answer, including statistical significance, effect size and direction, causality, generalizability, and changeability of the independent variable. I illustrate these issues with examples from an empirical study of the association between how much time teenagers spent playing video games and time spent reading. I describe how study design and context determine each of those aspects of “importance,” and close by summarizing how to provide a holistic view of importance when writing about a quantitative analysis. I also include exercises to guide students through applying these concepts to articles in newspapers and scholarly journals.

Read Article

Jane Miller is a Professor and Faculty Mentoring Director at the Bloustein School

Recent Posts

Sophia Jones, Committed to Cultural Competence

Sophia Jones, PhD, has been a Public Health part-time lecturer at the Bloustein School since 2016. She was recently featured on "Meet the People of Rutgers." Sophia Jones, Committed to Cultural Competence Jeff Arban/Rutgers University The Basics Title: Program...

Upcoming Events

Rutgers Disability Coming Out Day

Gov. James J. Florio Special Events Forum, CSB 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ, United States

A panel of disability activists will discuss building a society that works for all of us. Future leaders in planning, policy, healthcare, and education are encouraged to join to learn […]