A guide for authors and readers of the American Society for Nutrition Journals on the proper use of P values and strategies that promote transparency and improve research reproducibility

John D. Sorkin, Mark Manary, Paul A.M. Smeets, Amanda J. Macfarlane, Arne Astrup, Ronald L. Prigeon, Beth B. Hogans, Jack Odle, Teresa A. Davis, Katherine L. Tucker, Christopher P. Duggan, Deirdre K. Tobias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two questions regarding the scientific literature have become grist for public discussion: 1) what place should P values have in reporting the results of studies? 2) How should the perceived difficulty in replicating the results reported in published studies be addressed? We consider these questions to be 2 sides of the same coin; failing to address them can lead to an incomplete or incorrect message being sent to the reader. If P values (which are derived from the estimate of the effect size and a measure of the precision of the estimate of the effect) are used improperly, for example reporting only significant findings, or reporting P values without account for multiple comparisons, or failing to indicate the number of tests performed, the scientific record can be biased. Moreover, if there is a lack of transparency in the conduct of a study and reporting of study results, it will not be possible to repeat a study in a manner that allows inferences from the original study to be reproduced or to design and conduct a different experiment whose aim is to confirm the original study's findings. The goal of this article is to discuss how P values can be used in a manner that is consistent with the scientific method, and to increase transparency and reproducibility in the conduct and analysis of nutrition research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1280-1285
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume114
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Keywords

  • P value
  • reliability
  • reproducibility
  • strategies
  • transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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