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Rev Med Liege. 2013 Sep;68(9):470-8.

[How I explore the various statistical facets of 2 x 2 tables in medicine].

[Article in French]

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Université de Liège.


In the medical scientific literature, 2 x 2 contingency tables are widely used to display the distribution of binary data. They are associated with the definition of basic concepts in medicine and epidemiology that are universally utilized. They are usually taught in any basic course in biostatistics early in the medical curriculum; their interpretation however is not always straightforward. We have discerned at least eight different facets of such fourfold tables: homogeneity test, independence test, McNemar test, Cohen kappa coefficient, incidence relative risk, prevalence relative risk, odds ratio, diagnostic value of a clinical test. Each facet is illustrated by a clinical problem used as an example. This article should help the reader to understand which table he/she is actually dealing with.

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