Research and Statistics in Health Sciences

Table of Content

As health care evolves in our nation, the role of research and statistics will evolve right along with it. There will be more research into medical care, health care costs, medications, and types of treatments. The most common types of statistics reported will be the fertility rates, which includes vital statistics (birth, death, marriage, divorce rates), morbidity (the incidence of disease in a population), and mortality (the number of people who die in a certain disease compared with the total number of people).

As stated above, health care costs along with demographic distribution based on geographic, ethnic, and gender variables, and data on the socioeconomic status and education of health care professionals are also common statistical data reported. As the role of research and statistics are looked into more deeply, we will discuss the different types of variables used, examine independent and dependent variables more closely, and evaluate the characteristics of primary and secondary data as used in research and statistics.

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Research will begin with collecting data and obtaining the variables. Data and variables go hand in hand as the data is the value of the variable. The most common types of variables are quantitative or qualitative data/variables. The quantitative variables consist of numerical variables, and the numerical variables can be described as continuous or discrete. Examples of this can be numbers expressed in weights, distance, age, dollars, etc. This can also be broken down into interval and ratio levels of measurement. Qualitative variables are more categorical.

They are arranged by examples of colors, sex, yes/no answer choices, letter grades, etc. Qualitative variables can be considered as nominal and ordinal levels of measurement. Qualitative and quantitative variables are very common types of variables. They represent all types of numerical data and categorical data that are found during all types of research. Included in the research of a study, there are two significant types of data collected and used, primary and secondary data. The primary data is the first hand information gathered and collected by the researcher.

This is new and authentic data collected that has not undergone any changes or treatment of the data. The technique for collecting primary data is through personal interview, surveys through phone polls or questionnaires, convenience sampling, etc. The secondary data is just as it sounds; second hand information already collected by someone else and has conducted information into another statistical report. The types of secondary data that may be use are journals, newspapers, research organizations such as Universities or government sponsored research centers, internet, and the list may go on.

Independent and Dependent variables play an important role in statistics as well. In the health system, researchers look for unanticipated explanations of the study. In an independent variable, it is a factor that can be manipulated, influenced, or varied in an experiment (e. g. time, temperature, etc). It is usually what will affect the dependent variable. There are basically two types of independent variables, which are often treated differently, which are quantitative and qualitative as described above.

A dependent variable is what you measure in the experiment and the probabilities of the affects depend on the other. These dependent variables are what are affected during the experiment. The dependent variable responds to the independent variable as it depends on the independent variable as well. Usually in an experiment, you cannot have a dependent variable without an independent variable. On a graph showing data, for an example in a histogram, ogive graph, or a pareto chart graph, the independent variable is plotted along the horizontal x-axis and the dependent variable along the vertical y-axis.

As the politicians in America try to reform our health care, the job of research and statistics in the health care field will become more important. It will be important to find a way to cut healthcare costs, but not at the expense to the people. The doctors will need reliable sources and studies to help choose the right medication and right method of treatment for a patient who may have limited resources for payment. The insurance companies will need reliable sources and studies to determine to amount of coverage a person may need with certain medical conditions.

The insurance companies will also need to determine the amount of reimbursement a medical provider and hospital will receive for treatment of a patient under certain medical conditions. Pharmaceutical companies will need to research and study different medical side effects and cost effectiveness of new drugs coming to the market, and old drugs becoming generic. Our country continues to grow through births and refugees fleeing to American, and the vital statistics will grow as well with more recordings of births through the fertility rates and deaths from the crude mortality rates.

These statistics will be important to keep track of the different ethnic backgrounds our country houses. Our schools and colleges will benefit from these statistics as well as this may determine grants the schools may receive and scholarships these schools are able to award. As the population in the United States and around the world increases, researchers will be faced with new and challenging studies and experiments. With new viruses, more complicated diseases, infections, and an increase in diagnosis’ that were never really prevalent in the last few years as they have become today.

Research and statistics have given the medical professionals and lay people more information to side effects, complications, and improved treatments to diseases as autism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, and the list can go on. The statistics the researcher will provide to the medical and health sciences will be vital to help the patients receive the best in treatment, the most accurate diagnosis, and in all the best medical care all health care providers can offer. Research and statistics are one of the most important aspects in medical care that the medical professionals use in their daily decision making process in regards to the right course of treatment for their patients.


Triola, MD, Marc M. , & Triola, Mario F. (2006). Chapter 1: Introduction 1-2 Types of Data & 1-3 Design of Experiments, Chapter 2 : Describing, Exploring, and Comparing Data, 2-3 Visualizing Data. In D. Lynch, K. Nopper, S. Oliver, & R.

Hampton, Biostatistics for the Biological and Health Sciences (pp. 4-13 & 33-40) Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Kaps, Miroslav, & Lamberson, William R. (2009). Biostatistics for Animal Sciences an Introductory Science, 2nd ed. Retrieved from http://bookshop. cabi. org/Uploads/Books/PDF/9781845935405/9781845935405. pdf The International Development Research Centre, Science for Humanity: Designing and Conducting Health System Research Projects: vol. 1. Retrieved from http://www. idrc. ca/en/ev-56602-201-1-DO_TOPIC. html

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