Online Program

Friday, February 19
PS2 Poster Session 2 & Refreshments Fri, Feb 19, 5:15 PM - 6:30 PM
Ballroom Foyer

The Use of Analogies to Help Clinicians and Investigators Better Understand the Principles and Practice of Biostatistics (303207)

Meredith Akerman, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 
Nina Kohn, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 
*Martin L Lesser, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 

Keywords: Consulting, communication

For the interaction between the biostatistician and the research investigator to be successful, not only is it important for the investigator to be able to explain biological/medical principles in a way that can be understood by the biostatistician, so, too, the biostatistician needs tools to help the investigator understand both the practice of statistics and specific statistical methods. In our practice, we have found it useful to draw analogies between statistical concepts and familiar medical or everyday ideas. These analogies help to stress a point or provide an understanding on the part of the investigator. For example, explaining the reason for using a non-parametric procedure (i.e., when the underlying distribution of the data is not known or cannot be assumed) by comparing it to using broad spectrum antibiotics (a general antibiotic used when the specific bacteria causing infection is unknown or cannot be assumed) can be an effective teaching tool. We present a variety of useful (and hopefully amusing) analogies that can be adopted by statisticians to help investigators at all levels of experience better understand principles and practice of statistics.