If you've ever read a wild headline like, "Study Shows Chewing Rocks Prevents Cancer," you've probably wondered how that could be possible. If you look closer at this type of article you may find that the sample size for the study was a mere handful of people. If one person in a group of five chewed rocks and didn't get cancer, does that mean chewing rocks prevented cancer?
Definitely not. The study for such a conclusion doesn't have statistical significance—though the study was performed, its conclusions don't really mean anything because the sample size was small.
So what is statistical significance, and how do you calculate it? In this article, we'll cover what it is, when it's used, and go step-by-step through the process of determining if an experiment is statistically significant on your own.