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Making sense of medical statistics: a bite sized visual guide

Posted on 17th August 2022 by

Learning Resources
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Did you know that a dispute between gamblers in a dice game in 1654 led to Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat developing the probability theory? I didn’t! These ‘Did you know’ stories are just one of the additions to the book ‘Making sense of medical statistics: a bite sized visual guide’ that bring statistical explanations to life.

The author of this book, Munier Hossain, is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with an interest in medical education, and has been teaching statistics and evidence-based healthcare for over a decade. In this blog, I will be giving you my personal review of this resource, which was published at the end of 2021.

Who"" is the book for and what does it cover?

This book is designed to provide an introduction to statistical concepts and encourage self-directed learning, with the overall aim of giving health professionals a ‘working understanding’ of medical statistics. Each chapter follows the same format which, in my opinion, makes it much easier to navigate. Here’s how they are structured:

  • Learning outcomes clearly defined at the beginning of the chapter
  • Did You Know? interesting facts, quotes, and anecdotes throughout
  • Explanation of the concepts broken up into sections, with figures and charts
  • Bullet points in the margins highlighting the main points
  • Think about it! additional questions to consider (answers are at the end of the chapter!)
  • Take home messages
  • Bonus section for more advanced learning

I won’t list all of the topics here as, handily, you can check out the contents page online. However, a few examples of what you will find are: confidence intervals, risk versus odds, standard deviation and standard error, and the null hypothesis.

There’s a glossary at the end, which I always think is a great addition, and the final chapter is titled ‘Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics – Untangling Facts From Fiction!’ which provides a vital reminder on things to watch out for when you are unravelling a research paper.

And, finally, you can also access even more material online which includes a wealth of additional reading and resources, and details of free software and example data so you can practise data analysis.

What I like most about this resource

  • Short, bite-sized chapters to easily keep your interest on a topic
  • Visual learning aspects and an easy-to-read format
  • Question and answers to test your knowledge
  • Additional material online to extend the learning opportunities beyond the book

Making medical statistics accessible, understandable, and interesting is what we’re all about at S4BE, and this book really does match our ethos.  It would be great to hear from anyone who has, or does, read the book. Add your review in the comments, or get in touch if you’d like to write your own review.

Thank you to Munier for gifting Students 4 Best Evidence his book. It is a fabulous addition to our library at Cochrane UK, which we hope visitors will be able to enjoy soon.

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Emma Carter

I work at Cochrane UK as the Information and Administration Support Officer. As part of my role I facilitate the Students 4 Best Evidence (S4BE) website. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to know more or if you would like to get involved with S4BE. View more posts from Emma

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