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Preprint / Version 3

A Critical Review of Phyiotherapy Editor’s Comments on Statistical Practice




Statistics, Physiotherapy, Estimation, Significance, Confidence Interval


Recently, a group of editors from physiotherapy journals wrote a joint editorial on the use of statistics. Like many other editorials, the editors, who were not statistical experts themselves, put forth numerous recommendations to physiotherapy researchers on how to analyze and report their statistical analyses. This editorial unfortunately suffers from numerous mischaracterizations or outright falsehoods regarding statistics. After a thorough review, two major issues appear throughout the editorial. First, the editors incorrectly state that the use of confidence intervals (CI) would alleviate some of the issues with significance testing. Second, the editors incorrectly assume “smallest worthwhile change” statistics are immutable facts related to some ground truth of treatment effects. In this critical review, we briefly outline some of the problematic statements made by the editors and offer some simple alternatives that we believe are statistical sound and easy for the average physiotherapy researcher to implement.


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2022-03-24 — Updated on 2022-03-24