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statistical nonsense and spin

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Mithriel, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

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    This is a study into papers which spin results which are not statistically significant to seem to be meaningful for the results the authors would like.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/303/20/2058

    The failure of the peer review process is not confined to ME/CFS.

    Mithriel
  2. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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  3. dean

    dean

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    great post.....

    What is most interesting to me is the "spin" component of many scientific papers in the service of self interest. The first step I take in looking at any scientific paper is to ask myself, "How did they get it wrong?" In other words the first step in good science is good critique....

    "To identify the nature and frequency of distorted presentation or "spin" (ie, specific reporting strategies, whatever their motive, to highlight that the experimental treatment is beneficial, despite a statistically nonsignificant difference for the primary outcome, or to distract the reader from statistically nonsignificant results"
  4. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    I'd be interested in how they define "spin" (their own 'definition' is not quite enough here).

    The reason I say this is because with this article we're getting into the realms of social science and discourse analysis (analysising language and rhetoric/polemic). I'm interested to see their methodology.
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi Mithriel

    I have been saying something similar for years, it was really nice to read this piece when it came out. Look at my current signature.

    The very first psychobabble paper I read had results that could be interpreted as the exact opposite of their claims, but I no longer recall the name of the paper. I don't think they understand statistics (not that I do), nor their reviewers, and I wonder if this misrepresentation is deliberate or the result of people not getting expert statistical advice when writing papers.

    Bye
    Alex

  6. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    More on this topic:

    "Medical statistics; Why much medical research is wrong"
    http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8733754

    "Sifting the evidence---what's wrong with significance tests?"
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/322/7280/226

    "Contradicted and Initially Stronger Effects in Highly Cited Clinical Research"
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/294/2/218

    "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False"
    http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124
  7. dean

    dean

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    From an old professor

    "Epidemiology is the science of critique"

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