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Study Design and Statistics 

Study Design and Statistics

Study Design and Statistics

Margaret A. Winker

and Stephen J. Lurie

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PRINTED FROM AMA MANUAL OF STYLE ONLINE ( © American Medical Association, 2009. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the license agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in AMA Manual of Style Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy). 

date: 27 October 2016

Statistical concepts, such as the margin of error in a public opinion poll or the probability of rain or snow, appear in everyday conversation. But, just as one may understand how the heart functions and how blood circulates but not be able to perform a cardiac catheterization, an understanding of statistical concepts does not enable one to perform the work of a statistician. Although the concepts may be familiar, the tools of statistics may be misapplied and the results misinterpreted without a statistician’s help. In medical research, the quality of the statistical analysis and clarity of presentation of statistical results are critical to a study’s validity. Decisions about statistical analysis are best made at the time that the study is designed and generally should not be deferred until after the data have been collected. Even the most sophisticated statistical analysis cannot salvage a fundamentally flawed study. Regardless of the statistician’s role, authors (who may include statisticians) are responsible for the appropriate design, analysis, and presentation of the study’s results...

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