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INTRODUCTION TO

BIOSTATISTICS

Dr. Aesha Farheen

Department of Community

and Family Medicine,

Medical College(Girls center)

King Khaled University,

Abha

• The word 'Statistics' is derived from the

Latin word 'Statis' which means a

"political state." Clearly, statistics is

closely linked with the administrative

affairs of a state such as facts and figures

regarding defense force, population,

housing, food, financial resources etc.

• What is Statistics?

• aggregate of facts affected to a marked extent

by multiplicity of causes, numerically expressed,

enumerated or estimated according to

reasonable standard of accuracy, collected in a

systematic manner for a predetermined purpose

and placed in relation to each other."

• IN SIMPLE WORDS:

• Methods for organizing, summarizing,

presenting, & interpreting information (data).

WHY WE NEED STATISTICS

• To present the data in a concise and

definite form : Statistics helps in

classifying and tabulating raw data for

processing and further tabulation for end

users.

• To make it easy to understand complex

and large data : This is done by

presenting the data in the form of tables,

graphs, diagrams etc., or by condensing

the data with the help of means,

dispersion etc.

• For comparison : Tables, measures of

means and dispersion can help in

comparing different sets of data..

phenomenon:- Statistics has made it

possible to count the population of a

country, the industrial growth, the

agricultural growth, the educational level

(of course in numbers(

QUANTITATIVE MEDICINE

diagnosis or treatment depends on

counting/measurement.

• High/ Low B.P??

• Pulse rate.

• Incidence of disease.

• Death rate.

• Enlargement of liver/ spleen

Statistics and Health

• BIOSTATISTICS

• HEALTH STATISTICS

• MEDICAL STATISTICS

• VITAL STATISTICS

NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE

TERMS

Examples of uses of biostatistics

• To define what is normal/ healthy in a

population (Setting limits of normality).

• To compare drug action –potency/efficacy

• Confirm association between two

attributes:Cancer and smoking or

Socioeconomic status and malnutrition

• Usefulness of vaccines

Uses in Public Health Planning

• Recording of vital events

• Incidence/prevalence of disease.

• Leading causes of death/ morbidity in the

community

• Demographic characteristics of a

community.

• Health system research.

Statistical presentation

• Two ways of representing statistics : Numerical

and Pictorial.

• Numerical statistics are numbers. But some

numbers are more meaningful such as mean,

standard deviation etc.

• When the numerical data is presented in the

form of pictures (diagrams) and graphs, it is

called the Pictorial statistics. This statistics

makes confusing and complex data or

information, easy, simple and straightforward, so

that even the layman can understand it without

much difficulty.

Types of statistics

• The branch of statistics wherein we record

and analyze observations for all the

individuals of a group or population and

draw inferences about the same is called

"Descriptive statistics" or "Deductive

statistics".

• On the other hand, if we choose a sample

and by statistical treatment of this, draw

inferences about the population, then this

branch of statistics is known as Statical

Inference or Inductive Statistic or

Inferential statistics.

• Tools for generalizing beyond actual

observations

population

COMMON TERMS

• DATA:

• Collection of information, comprised of 2

parts

• (1) Individuals (also called cases or

observation units)

• Individuals are ANY OBJECTS described

by data

• Do NOT have to be people

• (2)Variables are characteristics recorded

on/from the individuals

• A variable is something that varies—has

at least 2 values

• Something that changes over time OR

• Something that varies across individuals.

• Pick out the individuals and variables in

these examples:

• 100 business executives were asked their

age

• 8 farmers obtained the weight of 25 pigs

• 4 technicians measured the sound quality

of 10 stereos

Types of Data

• Categorical /(QUALITATIVE):

• records which group or category an

individual/observation belongs in;

• it classifies;

• doesn’t make sense to perform arithmetic

on this type of variable

• E.g., gender (Female or Male)

Quantitative

• a true numerical value;

• it indicates an amount;

• often obtained from a measuring

instrument;

• it makes sense to perform arithmetic on

these types of variables

• E.g., Weight in pounds

:Variables can also be divided into

• Discrete

• (a) Indivisible units

• (b) Restricted to whole numbers

• (c) Can be counted

• e.g. # of children in a family

• # of houses in a neighborhood

• Continuous:

• (a) Unlimited number of possible values

• (b) Infinite number of values can fall b/n

any 2 observed values

• (c) No gaps between units

• e.g. time taken to solve a problem

height or weight

• Variables can be measured on four different

types of scales:

• 1.Nominal: (a) Consists of a set of

categories or labels

• (b) The ‘score’ does NOT indicate an amount

• (c) The ‘score’ is arbitrary

• (d) Example: Color of cars: 1=red, 2=blue,

3=green

•

• 2.Ordinal: (a) Score indicates rank order along

some continuum

• (b) It is a relative score, not an absolute score

• Might have the highest score on the exam, but

we still don’t know how well you did

• (c) There is NOT an equal distance between

scores

• Finish 1st,2nd, or 3rd in a race; could be a

difference of 2 seconds b/n 1st & 2nd but a

difference of 10 minutes b/n 2nd & 3rd

• 3.Interval: (a) Score indicates an actual amount

• (b) There is an equal distance between each unit

• (c) Can include the number 0, but it is not a ‘true’

0

• (d) Zero on this scale does not mean an

absence of the variable; thus cannot speak to

ratios

• (e) Example: temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit

:80 degrees is not twice as hot as 40°

• 4.Ratio: (a) Score indicates an actual

amount

• (b) There is an equal distance between

each unit

• (c) It includes a ‘true’ zero point; thus

ratios are valid

• (d) Example: # of friends you have

.COMMON TERMS CONTD

• VARIABLE

• A characteristic that takes on different values in

different persons/ places/tjhings.

• Eg. Height, Weight,B.P, Age etc.

• CONSTANT:

• Quantities that do not vary eg in biostatistics, for

a particular population;mean, SD, SE,Correlation

coeff.,and proportion are considered as

constants

• OBSERVATION:

• An event and its measurement eg

B.P=120 mm Hg

• OBSERVATION UNIT

• The source of observation, often called the

individual or subject.

Population and sample

Population

• The entire collection of events of interest eg.,

collection of people you want to study about.

population is known as the size of the

population. This may be finite or infinite.

• SAMPLING UNIT:

• Each member of a population.

• SAMPLE:

• Part of population

• Subset of events selected from a

population

• Intended to represent the population

• PARAMETER:

• It is a summary value or constant of a variable

that describes the population such as the

mean,variance, correlation coefficient,etc.

• (Against which we measure a statistic of a

sample)

• STATISTIC: is a summary value that describes

the sample:eg mean SD, SE, Correlation coeff.

etc.

• PARAMETRIC TEST;

• It is one in which population constants

such as that described above are used

and data tend to follow one assumed or

established distribution such as Poisson,

normal, binomial etc.

NONPARAMETRIC TEST

• Tests such as Chi square in which no

constant of a population is used. Data do

not follow any specific distribution and no

assumptions are made in these tests.

Symbols and Notations

• For Parameter i.e Values describing

POPULATIONS

• Greek letters eg.,

• µ =Mean

∀ σ2 =Variance

∀ σ =SD

∀ ρ =Proportion

• For Statistics i.e Values describing

SAMPLES

• Roman letters,eg.

X =Mean

s2=Variance

s =Standard Deviation

p =Proportion

methods of research

1.Correlational :(non-experimental)

2.Experimental:Begin with an hypothesis,

a hunch/guess/belief about how variables

might be related or influence each other:

• Meditation can reduce stress

Co relational Research

Measure variables as they occur naturally

• Questionnaires, interviews, observational

or archival research

• Test hypotheses about association

between 2 or more variables

• Theory may be causal, but conclusions

cannot be.

:Example

• Survey 100 people

• Measure how often (if ever) they meditate

• Measure their level of life stress

• Look at association between meditation

and stress

• Can we draw a causal inference?

Experimental Research

• Manipulate one variable; examine its

effect on an outcome variable

• Independent Variable (IV) Dependent

Variable (DV)

• Goal is to draw causal inferences

• Cause - Effect

• The IV presumed to cause changes in DV

• IV DV

Example

• Recruit 100 people

• Randomly assign 50 to a meditation task

& 50 to a neutral task

• Measure stress after task

• Look at group differences in stress

• Can we draw a causal inference?

Two key elements of an

:experiment

• 1.IV with at least two “levels”

• treatment group = meditation

• control group = no meditation

• 2.Random assignment to

groups/conditions

• Assignment of participants to groups is

based on a random process

LIMITATIONS WITH STATISTICS

• Statistics does not deal with individual measurements.

Since statistics deals with aggregates of facts, it can

not be used to study the changes that have taken

place in individual cases.

• Statistics cannot be used to study qualitative

phenomenon like morality, intelligence, beauty etc. as

these can not be quantified. However, it may be

possible to analyze such problems statistically by

expressing them numerically.

• Statistical results are true only on an average- The

conclusions obtained statistically are not universal

truths. They are true only under certain conditions.

This is because statistics as a science is less exact as

compared to the natural science.

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