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N Engl J Med. 1983 Sep 22;309(12):709-13.

Use of statistical analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine.


A sorting of the statistical methods used by authors of the 760 research and review articles in Volumes 298 to 301 of The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that a reader who is conversant with descriptive statistics (percentages, means, and standard deviations) has statistical access to 58 per cent of the articles. Understanding t-tests increases this access to 67 per cent. The addition of contingency tables gives statistical access to 73 per cent of the articles. Familiarity with each additional statistical method gradually increases the percentage of accessible articles. Original Articles use statistical techniques more extensively than other articles in the Journal. Research studies based on a longitudinal design make heavier use of statistics than do those using a cross-sectional design. The tabulations in this study should aid clinicians and medical investigators who are planning their continuing education in statistical methods, and faculty who design or teach courses in quantitative methods for medical and health professionals.

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