Faculty of medicine, dentistry and health sciences School of population health CAPHIA WorkSHOP Perth Friday 19 September 2014 Ensuring competency in epidemiology and biostatistics among Master of Public Health graduates: teaching and learning approaches, dilemmas and needs The core introductory biostatistics unit in the UWA MPH degree – what’s in the unit and what are the challenges and issues Prof Matthew Knuiman Applied Data
This is a core (or mandatory) unit in the MPH by coursework(with or without a research project or dissertation) Other UWA postgraduate degrees (eg Master of Aboriginal Health, Master of Clinical Research, Master of Surgery, Doctor of Clinical Dentistry, Doctor of Clinical Podiatry, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) and is also taken (with or without coercion) by many Masters by Research and PhD candidates. UWA PUBH4401 (Biostatistics I) The unit is available in face-to-face mode (lectures, tutorials, comprehensive materials) and in on-line mode (recorded lectures, online discussion boards, comprehensive materials)
What are the learning objectives/aims? • Appreciate the role of statistics in health and medical practice and research. • Understand the statistical content of articles in general health and medical literature. • Know how to summarise and present data. • Understand statistical inference (sample to population) through confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. • Be able to apply statistical methods for comparison of means, proportions, incidence rates and survival curves, and know when to apply specific methods. • Understand and apply correlation coefficients and linear regression. • Be able to sensibly use the SPSS Statistics package. Assessment by home assignments, on-line MCQ tests, final written exam
What is the assumed prior knowledge and experience? • Basic (Year 10 high school) algebra to understand equations and formulae. • Familiarity with hand-held calculators.You must have your own calculator and know how to use it. • Familiarity with computing in a Windows environment. • No prior experience with SPSS is assumed.
What is the content? Most calculations are done via SPSS (using pull down menus) but some also by hand-calculation. All data sets and examples are real.
Challenges and issues Some have math phobia – not confident with math notation and year 10 high school algebra egln x, ex and how to calculate (0.4 – 0.2)/[0.03/√100] . Some think not relevant to intended career (but statistical literacy is very important even if will not analyse their own data in future). Many enjoy the face-to-face discussions on review of published articles. Some rely on SPSS to ‘think’ for them instead of just doing their calculations (and trust all computer output is sensible!). The assessment requires ‘explanation and interpretation’ as well as correct formula and calculation/output, some have difficulty with constructing sensible sentences and don’t like losing marks because of this. Harder to answer questions and help students in online (discussion board) environment than in face-to-face situation. Cheating and collusion on home assignments is prevalent.