The Fall of the P-Value

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 10.55.56 AMWe at Data Community DC wanted to highlight a very interesting and relevant article for data practitioners published over at Nature.com. For most people, P-values are the “gold standard” by which the validity of scientific results are measured. However, mounting evidence suggests that this isn’t the case. Further, the growing use of online experimentation has precipitated a new wave of individuals, not necessarily indoctrinated in the field of statistics, to question the relevance of the P-value.

Curious? We highly recommend checking out the article below:

For a brief moment in 2010, Matt Motyl was on the brink of scientific glory: he had discovered that extremists quite literally see the world in black and white.

The results were “plain as day”, recalls Motyl, a psychology PhD student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Data from a study of nearly 2,000 people seemed to show that political moderates saw shades of grey more accurately than did either left-wing or right-wing extremists. “The hypothesis was sexy,” he says, “and the data provided clear support.” The P value, a common index for the strength of evidence, was 0.01 — usually interpreted as ‘very significant’. Publication in a high-impact journal seemed within Motyl’s grasp.

If you want to read more, head on over to the article here.

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Sean Murphy

Senior Scientist and Data Science Consultant at JHU
Sean Patrick Murphy, with degrees in math, electrical engineering, and biomedical engineering and an MBA from Oxford, has served as a senior scientist at Johns Hopkins University for over a decade, advises several startups, and provides learning analytics consulting for EverFi. Previously, he served as the Chief Data Scientist at a series A funded health care analytics firm, and the Director of Research at a boutique graduate educational company. He has also cofounded a big data startup and Data Community DC, a 2,000 member organization of data professionals. Find him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and .
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