The SGRQ is a disease-specific measure of health status for use in COPD. A number of methods have been used for estimating its minimum clinically important difference (MCID). These include both expert and patient preference-based estimates. Anchor-based methods have also been used. The calculated MCID from those studies was consistently around 4 units, regardless of assessment method. By contrast, the MCID calculated using distribution-based methods varied across studies and permitted no consistent estimate. All measurements of clinical significance contain sample and measurement error. They also require value judgements, if not about the calculation of the MCID itself then about the anchors used to estimate it. Under these circumstances, greater weight should be placed upon the overall body of evidence for an MCID, rather than one single method. For that reason, estimates of MCID should be used as indicative values. Methods of analysing clinical trial results should reflect this, and use appropriate statistical tests for comparison with the MCID. Treatments for COPD that produced an improvement in SGRQ of the order of 4 units in clinical trials have subsequently found wide acceptance once in clinical practice, so it seems reasonable to expect any new treatment proposed for COPD to produce an advantage over placebo that is not significantly inferior to a 4-unit difference.