P1-07: A Course in Biostatistical Literacy: Learning to Evaluate Evidence

By Laura Le and Ann Brearley, University of Minnesota


Introductory (bio)statistics courses typically teach statistical concepts and methods in tandem with data analysis using statistical software. This approach is not always relevant to graduate students in public health and medicine, who need to evaluate evidence but not analyze data. We developed a new course for this population. Biostatistical Literacy enrolls 40 to 75 students each semester. It involves minimal calculations and no statistical software, but instead develops students’ abilities to read, interpret, and evaluate statistical results in the medical and public health literature. The 14-unit curriculum includes typical introductory material (e.g., descriptive statistics, one- and two-sample inferential methods, SLR) but goes beyond to include material typically covered in a second or third course (e.g., MLR, logistic regression, survival analysis). Students learn to evaluate evidence through two types of guided-question activities: Concept Activities and Literature Activities. During Concept Activities, students explore and solidify their understanding of the unit concepts. During Literature Activities, students apply their knowledge to an article from the medical or health sciences literature by answering guided questions that span the whole research process (e.g., what was the research question and study design, what statistical methods were used, what were the results, what were the study’s strengths and limitations). The course syllabus, class activities, and feedback from students will be shared.

Poster Session - P1-07 - A Course in Biostatistical Literacy - Learning to Evaluate Evidence.pdf