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Statistics for the Health Sciences

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Title: Statistics for the Health Sciences

Author: Christine P Dancey et al

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd, 2012

Reviewer: Jane Brown, patient safety advisor, Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

Statistics for some people can be a complex and difficult subject; some books are so complicated with mathematical formulae that the reader puts the book down before getting started. This book is different because it visually appealing and guides the reader through the theory and the SPSS (I think this is going to be a statistics analysis program – ie software, in which case you should spell it program – ask me why, but can you check with the author what this is as not all our readers will be familiar with it, or just check in the book) programme.

This is definitely a statistics book for the healthcare environment.


What were the highlights? 

This book unashamedly asks the question at the beginning “What is research?”  This starts the student’s journey, through the basics of statistics. This enlightens the reader and points them in the right direction from chapter one. It starts at the beginning and works through the subject at a steady pace.

This title ensures the reader is working practically through the book as well as gaining good factual knowledge.

The book is written by three lecturers who have gained a wealth of teaching and hands on research experience. The authors acknowledge the need for healthcare students to have an understanding of reported statistics in scientific journals rather than in primary data analysis.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This textbook presents the key analytic issues that students and professionals require, and is presented in a very visual way.  The exercises are easy to follow and if you get in a muddle there are exact screenshots to refer to. This book personally takes the fear out of statistics.

It leads the reader through research design, hypothesis testing and statistical techniques.

The authors show how the techniques can be used within healthcare.

The book is well referenced and each chapter defines the purpose and goal.

Who should read it?

This is an essential textbook for students studying beginner and intermediate level statistics across the health sciences. This book would also act a prompt for an experienced practitioner involved in statistics within the healthcare setting.


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