What Do Anesthesiologists Know about p Values, Confidence Intervals, and Correlations: A Pilot Survey

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Abstract

Background: Statistical methods form the basis for clinical decision-making in evidence-based anesthesia. Data on the knowledge of anesthesiologists about statistics are lacking. This pilot study aims to provide a first impression of the anesthesiologists' understanding of commonly used concepts in statistics.

Methods: A cross-sectional pilot survey was performed at a major international anesthesia conference. The questionnaire consisted of three basic multiple-choice questions on the topics "p value," "confidence interval," and "correlation." Results of the questions are reported as percentage of correct answers (95% confidence interval).

Results: 65 questionnaires were analyzed. Forty participants were male, and mean age was 40 (standard deviation: 10) years. The question addressing the p value was correctly answered by 15% (95% CI: 8 to 27%) of respondents. The question concerning the 95% confidence interval was answered correctly by 28% (95% CI: 18 to 40%) of participants. For the question about correlation, a correct answer was given by 52% (95% CI: 40 to 64%). None of the participants answered all questions correctly, and 19 participants provided a wrong answer to all questions.

Conclusions: Anesthesiologists seem to demonstrate a poor understanding of statistical key concepts. Further studies are needed to address statistical knowledge gaps among anesthesiologists more comprehensively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4201289
JournalAnesthesiology Research and Practice
Volume2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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