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October 1991

Biostatistics in Otolaryngology Journals

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatric Otolaryngolgy, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (Pa) (Dr Rosenfeld), and Department of Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh (Pa) (Dr Rockette). Dr Rosenfeld is now with George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(10):1172-1176. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870220120022

• Clinical research depends on biostatistics to form meaningful inferences from uncertain data. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of clinical research in otolaryngology journals to identify trends in statistical usage and determine the statistical aptitude expected of journal readers. Statistical content and study design were assessed for 1262 articles from 1969, 1979, and 1989. General trends toward an increasing use of inferential statistics and stronger study designs were observed. The number of analytic and experimental studies employing inferential statistics has risen from 20 (31%) in 1969 to 145 (65%) in 1989. Although familiarity with only five statistical techniques gave access to 90% of current articles, this study suggests that the level of statistical expertise demanded of both researchers and readers will continue to increase.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117:1172-1176)