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Best way not to misuse p values is not to draw definitive conclusions about hypotheses
  1. David Trafimow1,
  2. Usha Haley2,
  3. David Boje3
  1. 1 Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University, Mexico, New Mexico, USA
  2. 2 International Business and Management, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA
  3. 3 Management, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Trafimow, New Mexico State University, Mexico, NM 88003, USA; dtrafimo{at}

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A recent article in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine asserted the following1, ‘We begin by saying that p values themselves are not flawed. Rather, the use, misuse or abuse of p values in ways antithetical to rigorous scientific pursuits is the flaw’. We show that this assertion is both wrong and misleading.

To demonstrate the errors, we start with another wrong assertion on the same page: ‘The only information to be gleaned from p values is whether the observed data are likely where the null hypothesis (that no effect exists) [is] true’. This assertion erroneously assumes that p values are based on null hypotheses when instead they are based …

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  • Contributors All authors conceptualised and wrote the manuscript and approved it in its final form.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.