Subject Code and Title STAT6000: Statistics for Public Health
Assessment Assessment 2: Assignment – Identifying and Interpreting Statistics in Research Articles
Learning Outcomes This assessment addresses the following learning outcomes:
1. Understand key concepts in statistics and the way in which both descriptive and inferential statistics are used to measure, describe and predict health and illness and the effects of interventions.
5. Apply key terms and concepts of statistics, including; sampling, hypothesis testing, validity and reliability, statistical significance and effect size.
6. Interpret the results of commonly used statistical tests presented in published literature.
Submission Due Sunday following the end of Module 4 at 11:55pm AEST/AEDT*
Total Marks 100 marks
*Please Note: This time is Sydney time (AEST or AEDT). Please convert to your own time zone (eg. Adelaide = 11:25pm).
This assessment requires you to read two articles and answer a series of questions in no more than 2000 words.
Most public health and wider health science journals report some form of statistics. The ability to understand and extract meaning from journal articles, and the ability to critically evaluate the statistics reported in research papers are fundamental skills in public health.
Paper 1: Lam, T., Liang, W., Chikritzhs, T., & Allsop, S. (2014). Alcohol and other drug use at school leavers’ celebrations. Journal of Public Health, 36(3), 408-416. Retrieved from:
Read the Lam et. al. (2014) research article and answer the following questions:
1. This paper presents two hypotheses. State the null and alternative hypothesis for each one, and describe the independent and dependent variables for each hypothesis.
2. What kind of sampling method did they use, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of recruiting participants in this way?
3. What are the demographic characteristics of the people in the sample? Explain by referring to the descriptive statistics reported in the paper.
4. What inferential statistics were used to analyse data in this study, and why?
5. What is the odds ratio for engaging in unprotected sex (compared with those who engaged in safety strategies with the greatest frequency)? Interpret this by explaining what the odds ratio is telling us, including any variables that were controlled for in the model.
6. How representative do you think the sample is of the national population of schoolies? Explain why.
Paper 2: Wong, M. C., S., Leung, M. C., M., Tsang, C. S., H., . . . Griffiths, S. M. (2013). The rising tide of diabetes mellitus in a Chinese population: A population-based household survey on 121,895 persons. International Journal of Public Health, 58(2), 269-276. Retrieved from:
Read the Wong et. al. (2014) paper and answer the following questions:
1. Describe the aims of the study. Can either aim be restated in terms of null and alternative hypotheses? Describe these where possible.
2. What are the demographic characteristics of the people in the sample? Explain by referring to the descriptive statistics reported in the paper.
3. What inferential statistics were used to analyse data in this paper, and why?
4. What did the researchers find when they adjusted the prevalence rates of diabetes for age and sex?
5. Interpret the odds ratios for self-reported diabetes diagnosis to explain who is at the greatest risk of diabetes.
6. What impact do the limitations described by the researchers have on the extent to which the results can be trusted, and why?
Resources for Assessment 2
• Lam, T., Liang, W., Chikritzhs, T., & Allsop, S. (2014). Alcohol and other drug use at school leavers’ celebrations. Journal of Public Health, 36(3), 408-416. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdt087.
• On Biostatistics and Clinical Trials (2012). Retrieved from: http://onbiostatistics.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/how-to-interpret-odds-ratios-that-are.html
• Wong, M. C., S., Leung, M. C., M., Tsang, C. S., H., . . . Griffiths, S. M. (2013). The rising tide of diabetes mellitus in a chinese population: A population-based household survey on 121,895 persons.
International Journal of Public Health, 58(2), 269-276. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.laureate.net.au/10.1007/s00038-012-0364-y
Knowledge of sampling methods, and research and statistical concepts 20%
Interpretation of research concepts, statistical concepts and reported results, demonstrating applied knowledge and understanding 40 %
Critical analysis of research elements including sampling, results and limitations 30%
Academic writing (clarity of expression, correct grammar and punctuation, correct word use) and accurate use of APA referencing style 10%