Reviews

Interpreting statistical findings: a guide for health professionals and students

THIS BOOK contains a lot of information in a slim volume. on the one hand this is a bonus because it allows readers to focus on the main issues quickly. The downside is a rather brisk style of writing which crams a lot of information into a small space.

The layout is unusual. The first two chapters illustrate worked examples of experimental and survey research, with content relating to design, but the main focus is on interpreting results. Illustrations and graphs are of good quality and informative. The writing is dense and detailed, and before long readers are moving from significance testing to the use of Forest Plots and numbers needed to Treat.

The second part, from chapters three to nine, is truly novel, it uses a dichotomous key to address specific items such as the shape of the distribution and sample size, which works well and will certainly be of use to lecturers in tutorial situations.

Part three is a review of the main statistical tests to be encountered in quantitative research. The final section is brief and proposes a guide to help students identify the quality of a quantitative research paper. Again layout is novel; should students

...

The layout is unusual. The first two chapters illustrate worked examples of experimental and survey research, with content relating to design, but the main focus is on interpreting results. Illustrations and graphs are of good quality and informative. The writing is dense and detailed, and before long readers are moving from significance testing to the use of Forest Plots and numbers needed to Treat.

The second part, from chapters three to nine, is truly novel, it uses a dichotomous key to address specific items such as the shape of the distribution and sample size, which works well and will certainly be of use to lecturers in tutorial situations.

Part three is a review of the main statistical tests to be encountered in quantitative research. The final section is brief and proposes a guide to help students identify the quality of a quantitative research paper. Again layout is novel; should students identify a section that they cannot make a judgement about, the relevant section of the book to supplement their knowledge is indicated.

This is not a discursive read and it is necessary to pay full attention while reading, but it does exactly what it sets out to do – it provides guidance and answers to those at first, second, and indeed third, degree level who need to look in some depth into the use of statistics in health care literature. As such it is warmly recommended.

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