Medical Writing Statistics The illusion of certainty and the certainty of illusion
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Volume 25, Issue 3 - Statistics

The illusion of certainty and the certainty of illusion

Abstract

Critical thinking is necessary to edit a scientific article. However, in addition to questions about the language, we can also question the assumptions, documentation, and implications of the research, in a process I call “analytical editing.” A text with unverified assumptions, missing documentation, and unconsidered implications can lead readers into believing that they understand an article when they do not, creating the “illusion of certainty.” Here, I present an example of the analyses needed to understand a single sentence; a case study, if you will, of analytical editing. A close look at the sentence raises several important questions about meaning, measurement, statistical analyses, how data are presented, and how results are interpreted. Analytical editing, in conjunction with traditional substantive editing, allows editors to increase their professionalism and value-added to clients.

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References

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President's Message
EMWA News
History of biostatistics
The illusion of certainty and the certainty of illusion
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Statistical analyses and methods in the published literature: The SAMPL guidelines
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Medical Communications
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Lingua Franca and Beyond
Gained in Translation
Teaching Medical Writing
Profile: An interview with Professor Peter Jüni on methodology and statistics in scientific manuscripts
Out On Our Own

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