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Essential medical statistics

Important information: Before you start the course you should have worked through the following school statistics - revision material see here


Welcome. This is the first course in medical statistics which has been designed specifically for medics and those concerned directly with healthcare provision, and while students from other disciplines are welcome to use the material it is advised that they search out examples of the various techniques discussed within their own discipline to supplement this material.

The course assumes that you have some knowledge of, and expertise in, statistics including understanding of the common types of descriptive statistic (mean, median, mode and standard deviation/variance), graphical representation of data (boxplots, barcharts, histograms, scatterplots and straight line of best fit) along with the basics of probability.

If you feel that you do not understand any of these concepts then please complete the brief refresher course above before undertaking the actual course.

I have taken this above strategy because most medics trained in the UK will have studied mathematics and statistics both at school and at university.

This is a 10 week ( around 100 hours of work) course which you may find rather different from other statistics courses you have taken this is because it focuses firmly on understanding  and evaluation rather than blindly doing calculations etc.  The concept of statistical validity is central to the course.

Another aspect of this course which you may find unusual is the introduction of a variety of software packages, for specific situations,  the two core software applications being SPSS (for a short time called PASW) and R, including a free add on called R commander. R, a free open source application, has seen a meteoric rise in use in the last few years and is being increasingly used for introductory statistics courses.

This course requires you to carry out a large number of practical exercises yourselves and to facilitate this I have included a coursework booklet which you need to complete. Numerous screenshots in the pdf handouts along with over 20 HD youtube videos support this. Because the assignments require you to complete the coursework booklet, including other analyses in both SPSS and R, it is essential that from the very first week you carry out the analyses yourselves and do not just read the material and watch the videos.



Course details and material

week date (for you to complete) material (link to pdf) my YouTube videos "theoldorganplayer" tick when completed exercises tick when completed MCQs notes

Assignments details Coursework Booklet (to complete)

Getting started with R

Getting started with R commander

link to all videos or individual ones:

    link to datasets
(zip file)
2 17/09/2012 Samples/populations        
3 24/09/2012 Single sample comparing mean, including paired designs      
4 01/10/2012 Two samples comparing means      
5 08/10/2012 Two samples ordinal data

Assessing ranks:

6 15/10/2012 Correlation Z scores, correlations + p and CI values in spss, r commander + R      
7 22/10/2012 Simple regression      
8 29/10/2012 Proportions & chi square

Proportions and chi-square

9 05/11/2012 Risk rates and odds      
10 12/11/2012 Hypotheses, power / sample size      
  Final assignment due 25th nov.        


Required resources

To complete this course you will need:

Additional none essential texts