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J Korean Assoc Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2013 Oct;39(5):203-6. doi: 10.5125/jkaoms.2013.39.5.203. Epub 2013 Oct 22.

Clinical statistics: five key statistical concepts for clinicians.

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1
Biostatistics, Graduate School of Clinical Dentistry, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Statistics is the science of data. As the foundation of scientific knowledge, data refers to evidentiary facts from the nature of reality by human action, observation, or experiment. Clinicians should be aware of the conditions of good data to support the validity of clinical modalities in reading scientific articles, one of the resources to revise or update their clinical knowledge and skills. The cause-effect link between clinical modality and outcome is ascertained as pattern statistic. The uniformity of nature guarantees the recurrence of data as the basic scientific evidence. Variation statistics are examined for patterns of recurrence. This provides information on the probability of recurrence of the cause-effect phenomenon. Multiple causal factors of natural phenomenon need a counterproof of absence in terms of the control group. A pattern of relation between a causal factor and an effect becomes recognizable, and thus, should be estimated as relation statistic. The type and meaning of each relation statistic should be well-understood. A study regarding a sample from the population of wide variations require clinicians to be aware of error statistics due to random chance. Incomplete human sense, coarse measurement instrument, and preconceived idea as a hypothesis that tends to bias the research, which gives rise to the necessity of keen critical independent mind with regard to the reported data.

KEYWORDS:

Critical mind; Error; Pattern; Relation; Variation

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