Evidence and scientific research

S. N. Goodman, R. Royall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


This commentary reviews the arguments for and against the use of p-values put forward in the Journal and other forums, and shows that they are all missing both a measure and concept of 'evidence'. The mathematics and logic of evidential theory are presented, with the log-likelihood ratio used as the measure of evidence. The profoundly different philosophy behind evidential methods (as compared to traditional ones) is presented, as well as a comparative example showing the difference between the two approaches. The reasons why we mistakenly ascribe evidential meaning to p-values and related measures are discussed. Unfamiliarity with the technology and philosophy of evidence is seen as the main reason why certain arguments about p-values persist, and why they are frequently contradictory and confusing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1568-1574
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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