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Mens Sana Monogr. 2006 Jan;4(1):89-103. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.27608.

What does biostatistics mean to us.

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1
National Cancer Institute Bethesda, MD, USA bergerv@mail.nih.gov.

Abstract

It is human nature to try to recognize patterns and to make sense of that which we observe. Unfortunately, our intuition is often wrong, and so there is a need to impose some objectivity on the methods by which observations are converted into knowledge. One definition of biostatistics could be precisely this, the rigorous and objective conversion of medical and/or biological observations into knowledge. Both consumers of biostatistical principles and biostatisticians themselves vary in the extent to which they recognize the need to continue the improvement. Some may not recognize the need for (some or all of) the methods that have already been developed; others may accept these as they find them completely sufficient; still others recognize both the value and the shortcomings of these methods, and seek to develop even better methods to ensure that future medical conclusions are less subject to biases than current ones are.

KEYWORDS:

Allocation Concealment; Bias; Biostatistics; Controlled Studies; Intuition; Masking; Null Hypothesis; Randomization; Type I and Type II Errors

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