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Reporting P Values

Savik, Kay

Section Editor(s): Bliss, Donna Z. PhD, RN, FAAN

Journal of Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing: May-June 2006 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 247–251
Spotlight on Research

If you are like most authors, when submitting a paper to a journal you may usually consult the instructions for authors and peruse a few articles published in that journal to see which format is preferred for reporting statistics and, in the case of hypothesis testing, the accompanying P values. What may have struck you over the years is that, with the exception of a few journals with very specific guidelines as to when and how to report P values, nothing specific to reporting statistics or P values is included in the author instructions. Paging through the issues of the same journal for a year often reveals a variety of formats. This conundrum finally prompted this statistician to conduct an Internet search using the key words “reporting p-values.” The references found there in combination with a widely recognized reference suggest that there is “almost” consensus about some guidelines for reporting P values and a total lack of consensus for others. The purpose of this article is to discuss these guidelines, where you do and do not find consensus, and how you decide to report P values in your own work.

Kay Savik, MS, Biostatistician and Research Fellow, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Correspondence: Kay Savik, MS, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, 5-160 Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN (e-mail:

Copyright © 2006 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society