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Use of the statistical methods in research articles of five Peruvian biomedical journals. Period 2002-2009

Keywords: Statistics analysis , Biomedical journals , Peru

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Abstract:

The use of statistical analysis is important in the biomedical research. Some studies have described the use of statistical methods in research articles, in Peruvian literature has not been done this description. Objective: To describe the frequency of use of statistical methods in five Peruvian biomedical journals in the period 2002-2009. Methods: Bibliometric, descriptive study. We analyzed the original articles of the journals: Peruvian Journal of public health and experimental medicine, Annals of the Faculty of Medicine, Herediana Medical Journal, Science and Medical Research Student of LatinAmerican (CIMEL) and Peruvian Journal of Gastroenterology. We performed descriptive and bivariate analysis to identify factors influencing the use of statistical methods. Results: We analyzed 794 original articles, 42,1% of articles were authored by specialized physicians, 41,9% of articles had clinical medicine as their main topic. 41,3% of the articles were cross sectional and 39,1% were descriptive. The most common statistical tests used were descriptive analysis (82.7% of articles), contingency tables (38,5%), Student T-test (15,7%) and epidemiologic statistics (12%) and non parametric tests (9,3%). The number of articles using descriptive statistics have declined since the year 2002 (p = 0,02). 2,5% of articles not use any type of statistical analysis, 47,9% of articles used a unique statistical test and 49,6% of articles used more than one statistical test. Conclusions: The descriptive analysis is the most common type of analysis in the Peruvian biomedical journal articles, however the frequency of its use has declined in the period analyzed. We recommend studies to evaluate the statistical tests used in Peruvian journals and identify the most frequent types of errors in its use.

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