Basic statistics (the fundamental concepts)
An appreciation and understanding of statistics is import to all practising clinicians, not simply researchers. This is because mathematics is the fundamental basis to which we base clinical decisions, usually with reference to the benefit in relation to risk. Unless a clinician has a basic understanding of statistics, he or she will never be in a position to question healthcare management decisions that have been handed down from generation to generation, will not be able to conduct research effectively nor evaluate the validity of published evidence (usually making an assumption that most published work is either all good or all bad). This article provides a brief introduction to basic statistical methods and illustrates its use in common clinical scenarios. In addition, pitfalls of incorrect usage have been highlighted. However, it is not meant to be a substitute for formal training or consultation with a qualified and experienced medical statistician prior to starting any research project.
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