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April 2003

Reporting Statistical Information in Medical Journal Articles

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(4):321-324. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.4.321

STATISTICS IS not merely about distributions or probabilities, although these are part of the discipline. In the broadest sense, statistics is the use of numbers to quantify relationships in data and thereby answer questions. Statistical methods allow the researcher to reduce a spreadsheet of data to counts, means, proportions, rates, risk ratios, rate differences, and other quantities that convey information. We believe that the presentation of numerical information will be enhanced if authors keep in mind that their goal is to clarify and explain. We offer suggestions here for the presentation of statistical information to the readers of general medical journals.