Category Archives: Statistics

PMean: Think positively, what has research done for us

Several years ago, I was part of panel presentation at the Joint Statistical Meetings. My talk was on how to teach Statistics from an evidence-based perspective. A question came up from the audience about the quality of medical research, and there’s a lot of cynicism in the Statistics community about this. Each comment from the audience seemed to get more negative and I stepped in to offer a counter argument. The research process has a lot of flaws, but we have made a ton of progress in how we provide medical care thanks to the careful and rigorously designed studies that have been done. I didn’t convince anyone, but it felt good to stand up for something I strongly believe in. Recently, I had to look for examples of research that has changed clinical practice for the better, and found several interesting articles. Continue reading

PMean: Getting R to shut the heck up

When you are using R Markdown to create various documents, you are often interested in displaying any informative messages that appear along the way. This is especially true for documents you plan to use yourself. But when you are preparing a report or a presentation for someone else, you may want to suppress these messages. That’s not always easy because different functions in R use different means to display messages, especially warning messages. So the option that might suppress a warning message from one function might not work for another function. Warnings when loading packages are notoriously difficult to suppress. I want to list, for my own benefit, all of the options that are available for getting R to shut the heck up. Continue reading

PMean: What to do about claims of borderline statistical significance

A comment about the phrase “trend towards efficiency” on the Statistical Consulting Section discussion board raised a lot of interesting commentary. The phrase refers to a setting where the p-value is not small enough to allow you to claim statistical significance, but still was close enough to 0.05 to be worth commenting on. Most of responses were fairly negative and stressed that we need to refuse to sign off on any report of publication using that phrase. I posted a response that differed from the others. Here’s the gist of what I said. Continue reading