Clinical Research Glossary

statistically significant statistically significant


Results that are very unlikely to have occurred by chance.

Example of statistically significant in a sentence

Study results are analyzed to find out if they are statistically significant.

More Info

When a result is found to be statistically significant, it means that a study result probably did not happen by chance. It does not necessarily mean that the finding is clinically important.

For example – a study could show a new medicine lowers blood pressure (statistically significant) but the side effects are too great to make it a useful treatment (not clinically meaningful).

Similarly, a statistically significant result in a study may be different than a person’s lived experience. For example, a study may show a statistically significant overall decrease in depression scores based on data collected from all participants in the study but an individual participant may still have feelings of depression.

Other info to think about when joining a study

You might see the term “statistically significant” used in a research article when the authors discuss the results and statistics.

The results section may also provide more information about what it means for the data to be statistically significant.

You may also see this term in Plain Language Summaries of a study’s results.

An icon consisting of a circle with a calculator, graph paper with a bar chart and a bell curve drawn on, and a pencil. This icon represents all the math terms in this glossary.
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