Giulio Lancioni, Jop Groeneweg, Andrea Bosco, Gabriella Basili

Statistical significance and clinical significance in applied research with persons with severe/profound and multiple disabilities

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Statistical significance, clinical significance, applied research, single-case designs, social validation

Applied research concerning persons with severe/profound and multiple disabilities is often based on single-case designs. The outcome of this research is usually displayed in a graphic format and the visual inspection of the graph is considered the first evaluation strategy. Statistical analysis of the data should possibly follow as a complementary strategy. Different situations can emerge from these two assessments. This paper examines situations in which statistical significance and a visual perception of change in the graphic display of the data are still insufficient to bring about a judgment of clinical significance. Possible discrepancies concerning the judgment of clinical significance are also pointed out. A supplementary evaluation (i.e., social validation assessment) is advised to overcome equivocal situations in which no conclusive judgment can be reached.

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