Beyond ‘significance’: Principles and practice of the analysis of credibility

Robert A.J. Matthews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inferential inadequacies of statistical significance testing are now widely recognized. There is, however, no consensus on how to move research into a ‘post p < 0.05’ era. We present a potential route forward via the Analysis of Credibility, a novel methodology that allows researchers to go beyond the simplistic dichotomy of significance testing and extract more insight from new findings. Using standard summary statistics, AnCred assesses the credibility of significant and non-significant findings on the basis of their evidential weight, and in the context of existing knowledge. The outcome is expressed in quantitative terms of direct relevance to the substantive research question, providing greater protection against misinterpretation. Worked examples are given to illustrate how AnCred extracts additional insight from the outcome of typical research study designs. Its ability to cast light on the use of p-values, the interpretation of non-significant findings and the so-called ‘replication crisis’ is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171047
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted
use, provided the original author and source are credited


  • Bayesian methods
  • Credibility
  • Replication crisis
  • Significance testing
  • Statistical inference


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