Accessibility statement

Understanding Clinical Statistics - HEA00005M

« Back to module search

  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Catherine Hewitt
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
B Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

To equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to allow interpretation and critical understanding of analysis of data. The module will focus on the interpretation and correctness of statistics in published healthcare research.

Module learning outcomes

  1. Students should understand the principles of the statistical methods described, particularly their appropriate use and their limitations.
  2. Students should be able to read papers of the type published in the British Medical Journal, understanding the statistical methods employed, their rationale and interpretation, and comment on their appropriateness.

Module content

Please note that this is a distance learning module with all materials delivered online with no formal face-to-face sessions. Tutors will be available for support throughout the module either online or in person. The only time you are formally required to attend the University is for the assessment.

Session 1: Descriptive statistics: Type of data, frequency, distribution, histograms and other frequency graphs, symmetry and skewness, median and other quantiles, mean, range, inter-quantile ranges, variance and standard deviation

Session 2: Estimation, standard error and confidence intervals: Normal distribution, sampling variation and sampling distributions, standard error and confidence intervals

Session 3: Significance tests: Sign test as an example, principles of significance tests, hypotheses, types of error, presenting P values, multiple testing, one- and two-sided tests

Session 4: Comparing means: Large sample Normal methods, two sample t method, checking assumptions, Normal plot, deviations from assumptions, paired t methods, checking assumptions, deviations from assumptions, analysis of variance, checking assumptions, deviations from assumptions and comparison of means after anova.

Session 5: Transformations: Need for transformations, frequently used transformation, logarithms, logarithmic scales, interpreting transformed data in a single sample, choosing transformation when comparing samples and interpreting transformed data, transformations for paired data, data which cannot be transformed, are transformations a valid approach?

Session 6: Categorical data: Chi-squared and Fisher’s tests, Yates’ correction, chi-squared test for trend, relative risk, odds ratios and number needed to treat.

Session 7: Correlation and regression: Correlation coefficients, regression lines, simple and multiple regression, linear regression, logistic regression, interactions and minimum samples sizes for regression.

Session 8: Survival data: Time to event data and censoring, Kaplan Meier estimates and survival curves, logrank test and Cox regression.


Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Understanding Clinical Statistics
2 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Understanding Clinical Statistics
2 hours 100

Module feedback

Students are provided with collective exam feedback relating to their cohort, within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

  • Bland, M. (2015). An introduction to medical statistics. Oxford University Press.
  • Bland, M. and Peacock, J.L. (2000). Statistical Questions in Evidence-based Medicine. Oxford University Press.
  • Altman, D.G. (1991). Practical statistics for medical research. London: Chapman and Hall.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students