Unit Of Biostatistics
The unit of Biostatistics was established in August 1999 in order to enhance statistics training and promote quantitative research in oral health care science. Its aims are to develop good statistical practice in the Institute and advance the understanding of the causes and treatments of oral conditions through the application of statistical methodology to the design, analysis and interpretation of dental studies.
Teaching and Consultancy
The Essential Statistics Course, providing training in statistics, is offered to all postgraduates and, as part of the Clinical Research Methods Module, is a compulsory component of every taught Masters level programme. It comprises a series of seven lectures on basic statistical theory. The first four lectures are followed by "hands-on" small-group computer workshops aimed at improving the understanding of the statistical theory covered in the relevant lecture by affording practical experience of analyzing real datasets using statistical software (SPSS). The Essential Statistics Course is also available online for registered users when accessed via the Moodle platform from any computer with an internet connection. This web-based course mirrors the taught course both in the theory covered and in the examples used. It can be utilized to reinforce learning for those attending the tutor-led course or as a revision course some time later. Each of the modules of the web-based course contains web pages explaining the relevant material, links to references and to the glossary of terms, some interactive multiple choice questions, the slides (with voice-overs) used in the lectures, handouts and, where relevant, an animated version of the SPSS practical.
The statisticians in the Biostatistics unit, when requested, act in an advisory role, providing statistical guidance for all postgraduate research projects. They collaborate extensively with their academic colleagues and graduate students at the Eastman in many areas of both clinical and laboratory-based dental research. Principal amongst these are paediatric dentistry, periodontology and orthodontics but also included are bacteriology, biomaterials, conservative dentistry, endodontology, oral and maxillofacial surgery and prosthetic dentistry. The statisticians co-supervise PhD and Masters' research theses and dissertations. Other contributions include relevant input in grant applications, advice on features of research and data handling as well as the analysis of data. The latter may involve the application of standard statistical methods to complex data sets and the use of more advanced techniques to resolve complicated problems. Evidence-based dentistry, in which meta-analysis plays a prominent role, is promoted and is widely practised.