Interpreting Statistical Significance in SPSS Statistics
You need to know how to interpret the statistical significance when working with SPSS Statistics. When conducting a statistical test, too often people immediately jump to the conclusion that a finding “is statistically significant” or “is not statistically significant.” While that is literally true, it does not imply that there are only two conclusions to draw about a finding.
What if in the real world there is no relationship between the variables, and the test found that there was a significant relationship? In this case, you would be making an error; this type of error is called a “false positive” because you falsely conclude a positive result (think it does occur).
On the other hand, what if in the real world there is a relationship between the variables, and the test found that there was no significant relationship? In this case, you would be making an error; this type of error is called a “false negative” because you falsely conclude a negative result (think it does not occur).
In the Real World | Statistical Test Results | |
---|---|---|
Not Significant (p > 0.5) | Significant (p < 0.5) | |
The two groups are not different | The null hypothesis appears true, so you conclude the groups are not significantly different. |
False positive. |
The two groups are different | False negative. | The null hypothesis appears false, so you conclude that the groups are significantly different. |