As we enter the heated month before Election Day, we are going to take an opportunity to explore the relationship between science and our government over the course of a few blog posts. We’ll explore a few key questions: How important was science to the Founding Fathers who penned the documents that still guide us today? How have Presidents interacted with the advancement of science since the birth of our nation? Just how involved is our current government in science, and finally, how do the two major party candidates differ with relation to science? Stay with us over the next few weeks to find out!
In scientific research, we test interventions to a problem and then measure the result: Did a medication improve patient outcomes? Did a training program lead to improved hand hygiene? Did copper-impregnated materials reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections? Simple before-and-after measurement is not enough when it comes to generating strong evidence. While the patients, the hand hygiene, and the infection rates may improve, it is vital to demonstrate that the intervention being studied was the cause of that improvement. How does a researcher demonstrate strong evidence? This post will explore the statistical representation of strength of evidence: The p value.