Exploring How to Simply Approximate the P-value of a Chi-squared Statistic

  • Eric Beh University of Newcastle, Australia


Calculating the p-value of any test statistic is of paramount importance to all statistically minded researchers across all areas of study. Many, these days, take for granted how the p-value is calculated and yet it is a pivotal quantity in all forms of statistical analysis. For the study of 2x2 tables where dichotomous variables are assessed for association, the chi-squared statistic, and its p-value, are fundamental quantities to all analysts, especially those in the health and allied disciplines. Examining the association between dichotomous variables is easily achieved through a very simple formula for the chi-squared statistic and yet the p-value of this statistic requires far more computational power.

This paper proposes and explores a very simple approximation of the p-value for a chi-squared statistic given its degrees of freedom. After providing a review a variety of common ways for determining the quantile of the chi-squared distribution given the level of significance and degrees of freedom, we shall derive an approximation based on the classic quantile formula given in 1977 by D. C. Hoaglin. We examine this approximation using a simple 2x2 contingency table example then show that it is extremely precise for all chi-squared values ranging from 0 to 50.


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How to Cite
Beh, E. (2018). Exploring How to Simply Approximate the P-value of a Chi-squared Statistic. Austrian Journal of Statistics, 47(3), 63-75. https://doi.org/10.17713/ajs.v47i3.757