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Study Design

October 30, 2010 Comments off

Introduction

100% of all disasters are failures of design, not analysis.

— Ron Marks, Toronto, August 16, 1994

To propose that poor design can be corrected by subtle analysis

techniques is contrary to good scientific thinking.

— Stuart Pocock (Controlled Clinical Trials, p 58) regarding the use of retrospective adjustment for trials with historical controls.

Issues of design always trump issues of analysis.

— GE Dallal, 1999, explaining to a client why it would be wasted effort to focus on the analysis of data from a study whose design was fatally flawed.

Bias dominates variability.

— John C. Bailler, III, Indianapolis, August 14, 2000

Statistics is not just a collection of computational techniques. It is a way of thinking about the world. Anyone can take a set of numbers and apply formulas to them. There are many computer programs that will do the calculations for you. But there is no point to analyzing data from a study that was not properly designed to answer the research question under investigation. In fact, there’s a real point in refusing to analyze such data lest faulty results be responsible for implementing a program or policy contrary to what’s really needed. Continue to read this valuable article at this link. From “Some Aspects of Study Design” by Gerard E. Dallal, Ph.D. via Study Design.

However, statistics still often get a bad press:

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors—to a striking extent—still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.

Read more of this here: link

Additional material on research design .