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Introduction to basic biostatistics for health research

Friday 9 February 2018

Introduction to basic biostatistics for health research is an overview/refresher course on biostatistics, with a combination of classroom-based material, covering some of the basic concepts of biostatistics, and an integrated practical introduction to basic statistical procedures using the freeware RCommander software package.

Topics covered  

  • A brief introduction to the role of statistics in research
  • Basic statistics: means, medians, standard deviations, proportions, and rates
  • Making inferences from a sample
  • Sample variability and confidence intervals
  • Basic methods for numerical outcomes: the t-test
  • Basic methods for categorical outcomes: the chi-squared test
  • Basic methods for count data: rates and relative risk
  • Practical sessions: basic biostatistics using Epi Info

Style of Course

  • Computer lab - hands-on course combining theory, discussion and practical exercises. Course attendance is limited to 18 participants.

Who should attend?  

The course is aimed at anyone who would like to better understand the basics of biostatistics. There is no expectation of experience with either biostatistics or any software package – the material is aimed at people who have never used biostatistical methods before, or those who would like a compact refresher course with some hands-on exercises. 

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
8:30am Registration
9am Data types; summary statistics; & the Normal distribution
10:30am Morning tea
11am Confidence intervals and hypothesis tests
12:30pm Lunch break
1:30pm Methods for categorical outcome data
3pm Afternoon tea
3:30pm Odds ratios and relative risks
5pm Finish

Teaching staff  

  • Dr James Stanley is a Senior Research Fellow and consulting biostatistician at the University of Otago, Wellington. He has taught biostatistics to postgraduate students since 2008, as well as working on applied biostatistics projects on (among other things) disparities in cancer survival, women and children's health, and mental health.
  • Dr Dalice Sim is a Senior Research Fellow and consulting biostatistician at the University of Otago, Wellington, and has taught introductory statistics to researchers and postgraduate students since 2010, principally at Victoria University. Currently she is collaborating on research projects in societal disparities and inequalities.

Course cost  

$300 early bird, $400 after 20 December 2017.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Register now