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J Ir Dent Assoc. 2004 Fall;50(3):128-31.

Statistical and clinical significance: alternative methods for understanding the importance of research findings.

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Department of Dental Public Health and Behavioural Science, School of Dentistry, University of Missouri-Kansas City 650 East 25th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA.


Statistical significance is an important tool for interpreting a study's results, but statistical significance provides an incomplete picture of results. The likelihood of obtaining statistically significant results can be manipulated by a researcher who uses large sample sizes or who compares treatments that are expected to differ greatly in outcome. Measures of effect size provide an additional tool for understanding the results of a study and evaluating the importance of the results. Meta-analyses and estimates of clinical significance can also help clinicians properly evaluate research findings.

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