Pediatric Hospital Medicine 2012

Making Heads or Tails out of p Values: Statistics for the mathematically disinclined
Kevin Powell
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Confidently state what has and has not been proven when a publication claims a p value less than 0.05.
  2. Assess whether an author s claim that an outcome is NOT associated with a variable actually means what that statement implies.
  3. Read journal articles with an intuitive feel for confidence intervals, thereby distinguishing between statistical significance and clinical significance

Have you ever wondered what a p value of <0.05 really means? Starting from a simple game of flipping a coin, audience participation with these hands-on exercises using coins, doctored dice, and bingo balls will enlighten even the mathphobes. Through coin flips and dice rolls, the participants will get a feel for what statistical tests really mean, without calculus, without trigonometry, indeed without much math at all beyond the 9th grade level. You can do it on your smart phone. There's an app for that. Interpreting statistics is a skill that must be mastered by researchers, by anyone interested in evidence based medicine, indeed by anyone who reads journal articles. Get beyond the numbers and comprehend what it means when a journal article claims statistical significance or the lack thereof. After this course, you may not be able to pass a statistics final, but journal club and the craps table will never be the same again.



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