Statistical Considerations in Otolaryngology Journals

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Abstract

Statistics can be intimidating for clinicians and reviewers. Statistics are often important and useful but can mislead. Elaborate statistics can support conclusions that contradict clinical experience. This article explores some statistically related insights. Statistical reasons for rejecting papers were collated, and the frequency and complexity of statistical tests in accepted, published papers in otolaryngology journals were then studied. Most statistical errors in papers are logical misinterpretations of information rather than lack of understanding of statistics. Otolaryngology papers tend to employ relatively straightforward statistics that should be useful for clinicians. Although evidence-based medicine has changed medical publishing, clinical knowledge is more important that statistical knowledge for clinical applications of statistics.

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