# Verging on a borderline trend

From Matthew Hankins, via a Cochrane Collaboration blog post, the first few items on an alphabetical list of ways to describe failure to meet a statistical significance threshold

a barely detectable statistically significant difference (p=0.073)

a borderline significant trend (p=0.09)

a certain trend toward significance (p=0.08)

a clear tendency to significance (p=0.052)

a clear trend (p<0.09)

a clear, strong trend (p=0.09)

a considerable trend toward significance (p=0.069)

a decreasing trend (p=0.09)

a definite trend (p=0.08)

a distinct trend toward significance (p=0.07)

a favorable trend (p=0.09)

a favourable statistical trend (p=0.09)

a little significant (p<0.1)

a margin at the edge of significance (p=0.0608)

a marginal trend (p=0.09)

a marginal trend toward significance (p=0.052)

a marked trend (p=0.07)

a mild trend (p<0.09)

…

Often there’s no need to have a threshold and people would be better off giving an interval estimate including the statistical uncertainty.

The defining characteristic of the (relatively rare) situations where a threshold **is** needed is that you either pass the threshold or you don’t. A *marked trend towards a suggestion of positive evidence* is not meeting the threshold.

Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »