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Biostatistics and Research Methods
The American Heritage Dictionary defines statistics as: "The mathematics of the collection, organization, and interpretation of numerical data, especially the analysis of population characteristics by inference from sampling." The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary definition is: "A branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data." The steps of statistical analysis involve collecting information, evaluating it, and drawing conclusions.
Statisticians provide crucial guidance in determining what information is reliable and which predictions can be trusted. They often help search for clues to the solution of a scientific mystery, and sometimes keep investigators from being misled by false impressions. Statisticians help determine the sampling and data collection methods, monitor the execution of the study and the processing of data, and advise on the strengths and limitations of the results. They must understand the nature of uncertainties and be able to draw conclusions in the context of particular statistical applications.
Statistical planning, analysis, and inference is so crucial to the kind of research conducted by Hopkins GIM researchers that the Division has built a cadre of in-house methodologists, trained in epidemiology and biostatistics, who work side-by-side with content-oriented clinical researchers and their trainees.