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May 26, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(4):328-333. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970040005008

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The medical practitioner, alert to opportunities for trial of new remedies and procedures, occasionally can add to the knowledge in his field by reporting to his colleagues his success with some new therapeutic measure. In making such a report and, indeed, in planning the study that led to it, the author needs to have command of the "principles of experimental method." These principles are not a series of numbered statements but a body of knowledge made up of logic and arithmetic and dealing with the design of experiments and the evaluation of the experimental data from them.

The present discussion will be devoted to the logic alone, as the arithmetic can be found in any textbook on statistical methods. The discussion will deal with one rule from among the principles of experimental method and with applications of the rule in actual experimental situations. The rule is directed toward prevention of

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