Author Archives: Joanna Diong

The Critical thinking and Appraisal Resource library (CARL) to understand and assess treatment claims

Every day, we are confronted by claims about effects of treatments, many of which are not supported by evidence and are misleading. It is easy to overestimate the benefits of treatments and to underestimate their potential risks, without knowing how to accurately assess claims about treatments. To address these problems, Castle and colleagues developed the Critical thinking and Appraisal Resource

Read more

Implying “there’s a trend to statistical significance” is not trendy.

When a p value that fails to reach a threshold is reported, investigators sometimes imply there is a “trend towards statistical significance”. This interpretation expresses the view that if more subjects had been tested, the p value would have become more significant. Epidemiologists Wood and colleagues examined the probability of how the p value of a treatment effect changes when

Read more

Calculating sample size using precision for planning

Most sample size calculations for independent or paired samples are performed based on power to detect an effect of a certain size, assuming there’s no effect. Instead, Cumming and Calin-Jageman recommend that readers plan studies to detect precise effects. The 95% confidence interval (CI) indicates precision about effects. Therefore, it is possible to plan studies to detect narrow 95% CIs

Read more

R: How to reshape data from wide to long format, and back again

Many studies take repeated observations on subjects. For example, clinical trials record outcomes from subjects before and after treatments, and laboratory studies might record physiological outcomes from the same subjects over time. In a dataframe, when observations from each subject are written on one row and repeated observations are stored as different column variables, we say the data are in

Read more

The likelihood ratio test: relevance and application

Suppose you conduct a study to compare an outcome between two independent groups of people, but you realised later that the groups were unexpectedly different at baseline. This difference might affect how you interpret the findings. For example, you measured muscle stiffness in people with stroke and in healthy people. At the end of the study, you realised that on

Read more

Calculating sample size for a paired t-test

Suppose you are planning to conduct a repeated-measures study, where outcomes are measured from the same subject at more than one point in time and the average within-subject effect is calculated using a paired t-test or linear regression. How might you calculate how many subjects need to be tested in order to find an effect? Similar to calculating sample size

Read more
« Older Entries