Section 1: Introduction to Statistical Concepts

Instructor: Frank Harrell

Statistical inference is the process of drawing general conclusions from specific studies. This section presents the fundamental concepts that provide the basis for statistical inference and examines the effect of endpoint definition, patient selection, and study design (especially randomized trials versus observational studies) on the validity of the general conclusions. This section also introduces descriptive statistics and measures of change, as investigators frequently summarize change from baseline or from control using the difference or percent change without using objective criteria for choosing the best measure of change. This section will show how graphical methods can assist in choosing between differences, percent change, log ratios, and other measures so that the resulting measure is as independent of baseline as possible. Section 1 will also present an overview of statistical resources available at Vanderbilt.


Learning Objectives

  1. To illustrate the main statistical concepts related to study design.
  2. To discuss with the basic method of using statistics to draw inferences about treatments and other factors.
  3. To illustrate the levels of evidence provided by different studies.
  4. To identify when to use different types of descriptive statistics.
  5. To learn what constitutes a good measure of change.
  6. To learn how to work with biostatisticians.
  7. To know where to find biostatistical resources in the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt.

Required Reading

Recommended Reading

  • Kaiser, Stat in Med 8:1183; 1989
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
lecture1.pdfpdf lecture1.pdf manage 195.3 K 02 Oct 2004 - 16:13 FrankHarrell Session 1 handouts
Topic revision: r1 - 21 Aug 2004, FrankHarrell

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