In February, 2014, George Cobb, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Statistics at Mount Holyoke College, posed these questions to an ASA discussion forum:
- Q: Why do so many colleges and grad schools teach p = .05?
- A: Because that’s still what the scientific community and journal editors use.
- Q: Why do so many people still use p = 0.05?
- A: Because that’s what they were taught in college or grad school.
Cobb’s concern was a long-worrisome circularity in the sociology of science based on the use of bright lines such as P < 0.05 : “We teach it because it’s what we do; we do it because it’s what we teach.”
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