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Intuitive Biostatistics, First Edition [Paperback]

Harvey Motulsky
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Intuitive Biostatistics: A Nonmathematical Guide to Statistical Thinking Intuitive Biostatistics: A Nonmathematical Guide to Statistical Thinking 3.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1995 0195086074 978-0195086072 1
Designed to provide a nonmathematical introduction to biostatistics for medical and health science students, graduate students in the biological sciences, physicians, and researchers, this text explains statistical principles in non-technical language and focuses on explaining the proper scientific interpretation of statistical tests rather than on the mathematical logic of the tests themselves. Intuitive Biostatistics covers all the topics typically found in an introductory statistics text, but with the emphasis on confidence intervals rather than P values, making it easier for students to understand both. Additionally, it introduces a broad range of topics left out of most other introductory texts but used frequently in biomedical publications, including survival curves. multiple comparisons, sensitivity and specificity of lab tests, Bayesian thinking, lod scores, and logistic, proportional hazards and nonlinear regression. By emphasizing interpretation rather than calculation, this text provides a clear and virtually painless introduction to statistical principles for those students who will need to use statistics constantly in their work. In addition, its practical approach enables readers to understand the statistical results published in biological and medical journals.

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"I like this book much, I will be "beta-testing" it on my upper-level undergraduate biostatistics class. It fills a great need for my students."--Harriette Phelps, University of D.C.

"This splendid book meets a major need in public health, medicine, and biomedical research training--a user-friendly biostatistics text for non-mathematicians."--Gilbert S. Omenn, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Michigan

"Motulsky has written a very readable and delightful account of how statistics are used in biology and medicine...He focuses on clinical studies and covers a broad range of topics, including...such specialized areas as survival analysis, Bayesian inference, and logistic regression." --Quarterly Review of Biology

"The unique aspect of the book, which makes it different from other biostatistics books, is its approach to the content...His goal is to help the reader interpret medical literature rather than analyze a set of data....I higly recommend this book for those needing a non-mathematical, explanatory introduction to biostatistics. It is well-written and provides wonderful clinical examples and biostatistical content...An excellent resource book for medical students and housestaff who are struggling along with the concepts; and for those of you who were wondering, it was surprisingly easy to read."--Joseph Chu, MD, MPH, University of Washington in Teaching and Learning Medicine

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent non-mathematical overview July 4 2002
Dr. Motulsky does an excellent job of introducing statistical concepts through examples and direct applications. Where this book is especially valuable is in keeping things simple -- without the intimidating mathematical notation -- while providing examples of where statistics can be used to measure the wrong things or present results that do not make sense in the context of what the researcher is investigating.
My favorite example illustrates how a stastical analysis of a new test that identifies those susceptible to a fatal disease "shows" an increase in the average lifespan of both populations (those who suffer the disease and those who don't). The reality, of course, is no one is living longer because of the test, but rather the population sampled is different. Brilliant and concise.
Although the text is targeted towards those in the bioinformatic and medical vocations, it's useful beyond that because the presentation of concepts is practical and yet without the notation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars book lives up to its title Sept. 7 2000
Dr. Motulsky is an MD who is also a Professor of Pharmacology and President of his own software company. The book's title suggests that he can make biostatistics intuitive for non-statisticians (e.g. physicians, clinicians and nurses). After reading through it he has made a believer out of me! He introduces concepts through examples and touches on most of the important statistical methods that are used in the medical literature. While the book could be used as a classroom text, it seems to me to be more suited as a reference source for medical researchers who want to understand the statistics described in research papers. Although not a statistician by training, Dr. Motulsky has a good understanding of statistical methods and principles and exhibits his wisdom and experience throughout the book. He is deliberate at keeping things simple and to the point. He points out that he intentionally uses fake examples and modifies real examples for simplification of exposition. He avoids mathematics as much as possible. the preface and the introduction are very well written and the reader should read both before reading the rest of the text.
My usual concern with such books is that concepts are oversimplified and the presentation is too cook-bookish. Amazingly that is not the case here. Professor Motulsky carefully explains concepts such as confidence intervals, p-values, multiple comparison issues, Bayesian thinking and Bayesian controversy in a way that should be understandable to his intended audience.
Proportions and the binomial distribution are introduced early. Advanced topics such as sequential methods, survival curves and logistic regression are tackled. These subjects are important in medical research but are often avoided in elementary books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Using it for a class now Sept. 28 2001
By sgopal2
I'm taking a class which uses this book as its primary textbook.
Its good for people who would like a refresher to statistics, or those who have never been exposed to stats.
But I found the book skimpy on some of the more important aspects of Statistics. The book is terse and packed with useful clinical information. I highly recommend this book to any clinical person who is looking to brush up on their stats.
Edit: Updated 9/5/02. I have referred to this book countless times since my class has ended. Some topics that are not covered well in Motulsky's book are: multivariate analysis, ANCOVA, Reliability studies and ANOVA. I installed a demo version of Motulsky's GraphPad software and was very impressed. I had a question so I emailed the tech support and Dr. Motulsky himself responded within an hour!
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I was delighted to discover this book four years ago, when I began teaching a course in clinical research methods. I have not seen anything else like the text or the optional companion software by GraphPad. The textbook is extremely well-written and well-organized. Not only have I been using the book and software in my teaching, but I have found that they handle about 90% of my own statistical needs for my research.
The author's philosophy (to forget the fancy stuff since the vast majority of applications don't require it) and the way it is implemented (with just enough theory to protect users from making false inferences) are exactly right. Dr. Motulsky has done a a superb job.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book Sept. 24 2000
I'm a practicing physician who has found it necessary to try to educate myself on the use of biostatistics in the medical literature. I have read over 20 books on biostatistics. This is clearly the best. It is written so that even the non-statistician can understand the concepts, and explains the statistical approach and rationale without scaring the reader away with arcane formulas. It is very logical in its progression and addresses the errors and assumptions that doctors make when trying to evaluate a paper. This book should be required reading not only by every medical student, but by anyone who attempts to write or interpret the medical literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction to biostatistics May 23 2004
By JoeyC
I used this book when writing a manuscript for publication. I stumbled across the author's web site, and found his approach remarkably useful. The book is clear and concise. It encompasses all general statistical methods needed for biomedical publishing for both basic and clinical research. It serves as an indespensible introduction for those, who like me, either never understood biostats as taught in medical school or who have not used these skills often enough to develop adequate familiarity with the methods and their application. Highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Helps you build a strong foundation
I'm doing my PhD and needed something to strengthen my basic biostatistics for the comprehensive exams and for my career (of course). Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2010 by Laura Gougeon
5.0 out of 5 stars good foundation for further inquiry into stats
A really nifty book for anyone--and that's most of us--interested in what basic statistical tests mean and how to use them. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2007 by Paul J. Fitzgerald
5.0 out of 5 stars ACCESSIBLE
I am very grateful that a professor of mine used this book for her class...I had flipped thru other stats books prior to taking her class, and the contents of those other books... Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2003 by Frosty Cold One
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless resource for my Prelims!
This book was an excellent choice for me to help review biostats for my prelims! Yes, although it doesn't focus on details of the more advanced statistical analyses, it does offer... Read more
Published on June 10 2003 by R. Bruhn
5.0 out of 5 stars THE most accessible introduction...
...to practical statistical methods I've seen. Dr. Motulsky articulately enables consideration and application of statistical methods. Read more
Published on July 13 2000 by R. Singer
5.0 out of 5 stars Best statistical book I ever read...
This book is intended to understand statistics, but it contains a lot of information about how to use it. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2000 by Carmine Pascuzzo-Lima
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelously readable and understandable
An excellent supplement to math-laden statistical textbooks and courses, this book clearly and easily deals with underlying statistical theory. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 1998
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