Line searches in swift X-ray spectra

Prior to the launch of the Swift mission several X-ray line detections were reported in gamma-ray burst afterglow spectra. To date, these pre-Swift era results have not been conclusively confirmed. The most contentious issue in this area is the choice of statistical method used to evaluate the significance of these features. In this paper we compare three different methods already extant in the literature for assessing the significance of possible line features and discuss their relative advantages and disadvantages. The methods are demonstrated by application to observations of 40 bursts from the archive of Swift XRT at early times (