Guidelines for reporting descriptive statistics in health research
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Guidelines for reporting descriptive statistics in health research

Lehana Thabane Associate professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, and director of the Biostatistics Unit at St Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton, Canada
Noori Akhtar-Danesh Associate professor, School of Nursing and Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University

The quality of reporting of results of health studies has been the subject of several papers in the recent years. There are several guidelines published on the topic, but improvements have been very slow. Lehana Thebane and Noori Akhtar-Danesh provide advice on how to report the analysis methods used to describe data and determine the descriptive statistics to use, and the accuracy with which to report the results

There is mounting evidence that the quality of reporting results of medical and nursing studies in various fields, including paediatrics, acute stroke, clinical pharmacology and intensive care medicine, is sub-optimal (Bath et al 1998, Krzyzanowska et al 2004, Latronico et al 2002, Mills et al 2004). Further, our experiences as statistical reviewers of several nursing and medical journals also indicate that the problems persist, with substantial variations between submissions in and between journals. The ethics of inappropriate use and reporting of statistics have been discussed by Altman on various occasions (Altman 1980a, Altman 1980b, Altman 1981).

Nurse Researcher. 15, 2, 72-81. doi: 10.7748/nr2008.

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