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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 756-762

To “P” or not to “P”, that is the question: A narrative review on P value

Department of Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, Command Hospital Air Force, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
H S Darling
Department of Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, Command Hospital Air Force, Bengaluru - 560 007, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_222_21

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Best medicine practice is thought to be based on evidence. Inferential statistics allow us to establish the strength of evidence in favor of or against a new research finding. The P value has been considered a reliable universal marker indicative of statistical significance of a study, thus driving the majority of practice-changing developments. Of late, the reign of the P value has been increasingly challenged by failure of replication of results in successive studies necessitating withdrawals of drug approvals. For the purpose of this narrative review, we performed a detailed literature search to identify relevant articles from the PubMed database and Cochrane library. We aimed to evaluate the drawbacks of the utilization of P value in a dichotomous way around a fixed cut-off of 0.05. Our review suggests that the P value must be interpreted as a continuum with smaller values depicting greater significance. The possible substitutes for P value are also discussed to enable a rational interpretation of results of new discoveries.

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