An editorial published earlier this month in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology” has raised concerns in the statistics community. The editorial declares that “the null hypothesis significance testing procedure (NHSTP) is invalid,” and states that authors of papers submitted to the journal, will--prior to publication--“have to remove all vestiges of the NHSTP (p-values, t-values, F-values, statements about ‘significant’ differences or lack thereof, and so on).” Bayesian alternatives will be considered on a case-by-case basis and “are neither required nor banned” from the journal.
The statistical community is aware of problems associated with the use and interpretation of inferential methods, and appreciates the concerns that the journal has about misuse of such methods in scientific research. However, the journal proposes to fall back entirely on descriptive statistics and use “larger sample sizes than is typical in much psychology research.” We believe this policy may have its own negative consequences and thus the proper use of inferential methods needs to be analyzed and debated in the larger research community.
A group of more than two-dozen distinguished statistical professionals is developing an ASA statement on p-values and inference that highlights the issues and competing viewpoints. The ASA encourages the editors of this journal and others who might share their concerns to consider what is offered in the ASA statement to appear later this year and not discard the proper and appropriate use of statistical inference.