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MUSC Department of Public Health Sciences Working Papers

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Measuring the Impact of Biostatistical Methods on General Medical Research
Measuring the Impact of Biostatistical Methods on General Medical Research Abstract: Background: Novel statistical methods are constantly being developed within the context of biomedical research; however, the rate of diffusion of this knowledge into the field of general / internal medicine is unclear. This study highlights the statistical journal articles, the statistical journals, and the statistical methods that appear to be having the most direct impact on research in the field of general / internal medicine. Methods: Descriptive techniques, including analyses of articles’ keywords and controlled vocabulary terms, were used to characterize the articles published in statistics and probability journals that were subsequently referenced within general / internal medicine journal articles during a recent 10-year period (2000-2009). Results: From the 45 statistics and probability journals of interest, a total of 597 unique articles were identified as being cited by 900 (out of a total of about 10,501) unique general / internal medicine journal articles. The most frequently cited statistical topics included general/other statistical methods, followed by epidemiologic methods, randomized trials, generalized linear models, meta-analysis, and missing data. Conclusion: As statisticians continue to develop and refine techniques, the promotion and adoption of these methods should also be addressed so that their efforts spent in developing the methods are not done in vain.