P-curve: A key to the file-drawer.

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Because scientists tend to report only studies (publication bias) or analyses (p-hacking) that “work,” readers must ask, “Are these effects true, or do they merely reflect selective reporting?” We introduce p-curve as a way to answer this question. P-curve is the distribution of statistically significant p values for a set of studies (ps < .05). Because only true effects are expected to generate right-skewed p-curves—containing more low (.01s) than high (.04s) significant p values—only right-skewed p-curves are diagnostic of evidential value. By telling us whether we can rule out selective reporting as the sole explanation for a set of findings, p-curve offers a solution to the age-old inferential problems caused by file-drawers of failed studies and analyses.

Link to resource: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033242

Type of resources: Primary Source, Reading, Paper

Education level(s): College / Upper Division (Undergraduates)

Primary user(s): Student

Subject area(s): Math & Statistics, Social Science

Language(s): English