Statistics in Medical Writing

In this post, we shall discussion about the significance of Statistics in Medical Writing.

We shall look at the components of statistics, the types of data and errors that are commonly encountered while computing them. We shall also learn in detail how to report statistics in medical writing.

What is Statistics & why is is important in Medical writing?

The word statistics may bring to mind polls and surveys, or facts and figures. But statistics is more than just a bunch of numbers:

Statistics is a problem-solving process that seeks answers to questions through data. 

By asking and answering statistical questions, we can learn more and by interpreting its results correctly it can provide clear information to readers. Statistics is used every day to help us gain insight into questions that affect our lives:

Is our population growing or shrinking?

What is the safest way to invest money?

Will eating more fruits and vegetables really make us live longer?

Components of Statistics

Four things make a problem statistical: the way in which you ask the question, the role and nature of the data, the particular ways in which you examine the data, and the types of interpretations you make from the investigation. A statistics problem typically contains four components:

  1. Asking a question gets the process started. It’s important to ask a question carefully, with an understanding of the data you will use to find your answer.
  2. Collecting data to help answer the question is an important step in the process. You obtain data by measuring something, so your measurement methods must be chosen with care. Sampling is one way to collect data; experimentation is another.
  3. Data must be organized, summarized, and represented properly in order to provide good answers to statistical questions. Also, the data you collect usually vary (i.e., they are not all the same), and you will need to account for the sources of this variation.
  4. After you analyze your data, you must interpret it in order to provide an answer — or answers — to the original question.

This four-step process for solving statistical problems is the foundation of all the research activity.

Types of Data

Data are defined in terms of variables, or characteristics that may be different from one observation to the next. When we measure these characteristics, we assign a value for each variable. This set of values for a given variable is known as data.

We distinguish between variables that are measured in numbers and those that are not. This distinction becomes useful and important when we get to the analysis phase of statistical problem solving. These two types of variables are called quantitative variables and qualitative variables.

Quantitative Variables

Quantitative variables represent numbers or quantities; in fact, they are sometimes referred to as numerical variables. A test score, the number of votes cast in an election, the measured amount of soda in a two-liter bottle — these are all examples of quantitative variables.

Qualitative Variables

Rather than numbers, qualitative variables represent categories, such as “excellent” or “female,” and they are sometimes referred to as categorical variables. The hometown of a college student, the favorite TV shows of a politician, and the model of a car seen on a highway these are all qualitative variables.

We refer to data in the same terms. Data are called quantitative if they come from measurements of a quantitative variable. Data are called qualitative if they come from measurements of a qualitative variable.

This completes out discussion on Statistics in Medical Writing. We hope you have been able to get some insight into the importance of Statistics in Medical Writing.

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