Book Review

Ewan Armitage
September 2015

Medical Statistics from Scratch: An Introduction for Health ProfessionalsContinuing the ‘research’ theme in this month's review and an aspect of research which is perhaps most familiar: statistics. From the outset it should be clear that the book has not been written specifically for paramedics but is aimed at the medical profession in general. This is certainly not a criticism, as it reflects the growing emphasis on research and clinical evidence in health care, as well as the growing number of clinicians becoming involved in medical research—paramedics included.Consistent with the title, this book is predominantly aimed at those undertaking research for the first time and in particular, those having to develop a good understanding of medical statistics. For those of you who work in an ambulance service within the NHS, statistics should be nothing new! In reality, there is a great deal more to them than simply numbers on a spreadsheet.Statistics can be a complicated area even for the most seasoned researcher, so don't expect this book to be the panacea for all that is confounding. What it does do is successfully identify the principal areas of statistics and provide a brief commentary on their application. Furthermore, as the application of statistics is specifically tailored to medical research, a bit of perspective is provided for clinicians and students looking to dabble in ‘stats’ for the first time. Such is the nature of research that one text could never be all-embracing but that was never the author's intention, and the content is certainly appropriate to the target readership.‘If you are a relative novice to research…then this is worth a readNow in its 3rd edition, this text has been in publication for over a decade. This is testimony in itself to the quality and relevance of the content. If you are a relative novice to research or are looking to fend off a cold sweat at the very mention of statistics, then this is worth a read.

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