Chapter

<i>Fitting targets to holes</i>

William A. Silverman

in Where's the Evidence?

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780192630889
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191723568 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192630889.003.0039
Fitting targets to holes

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This chapter presents a 1997 commentary on the glut of data in medical research. It argues that many clinical studies have a penchant for collecting large numbers of ‘mechanized observations’ that are unrelated to explicitly-worded hypotheses that are set down in the study protocol. This practice significantly raises costs and causes interpretative problems when the mass of data are dredged using computer programs to find ‘statistically significant’ but unpredicted associations.

Keywords: medical data; medical research; medical literature; mechanized observations

Chapter.  1262 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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