Small effects can be very important in the right context.

In sport, a small effect size may be the difference between winning and losing. Just ask American swimmer Dara Torres. She attributed missing out on winning the gold medal in the 50m freestyle at the Beijing Olympics to having filed her fingernails the previous night.

Small effects may be considered meaningful if they trigger big consequences, if they change the perceived probability that larger outcomes might occur, or if they accumulate into larger effects.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2010 at 11:29 pm and is filed under effect size, interpreting results, substantive significance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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“The primary product of a research inquiry is one or more measures of effect size, not p values.”
~ Jacob Cohen

“Statistical significance is the least interesting thing about the results. You should describe the results in terms of measures of magnitude – not just, does a treatment affect people, but how much does it affect them.”
~ Gene Glass