Medical Writing Statistics The illusion of certainty and the certainty of illusion

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
Never P alone: The value of estimates and confidence intervals
A medical writer's guide to meta-analysis
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News from the EMA
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In the Bookstores
The Webscout
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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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Raquel Billiones

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Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

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Victoria White

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Alicia Waltman

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Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Clare Chang

Barbara Grossman

Joselita T. Salita

Amy Whereat

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Nicole Bezuidenhout 

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Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News       

Aurélie Gobet / Paolo Rega

Gained in Translation

Raquel Billiones

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh / Stephen Gilliver

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Phil Leventhal

Manuscript Writing

Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Namrata Upadhyay

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Laura Kehoe

Out on Our Own

Jennifer Clemens

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Kimi Uegaki

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Karim Montasser

Veterinary Writing

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Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

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Chris Monk