Thomas A Lang
Principal of Tom Lang Communications and Training International
Tom Lang, MA, is an international consultant and trainer in medical communications. Formerly Manager of Medical Editing Services at the Cleveland Clinic, he has long been involved in developing reporting standards for evidence-based medicine, including the CONSORT and PRISMA groups. His books, How to Report Statistics in Medicine and How to Write, Publish, and Present in the Health Sciences are standard references in medical writing. He has received teaching awards from the American Medical Writers Association, the American Statistical Association, and the University of Chicago. His master's degree is in Communications Management (focus on scientific publications) from the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism at the University of Southern California.
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Interpreting and Reporting Descriptive Statistics
The field of biostatistics can be divided into two broad categories, numerical or mathematical statistics and research design characteristics. Within mathematical statistics is the topic of descriptive statistics, which involves describing and summarizing data sets, large or small, in a few "descriptive statistics." These statistics require an understanding of the "levels of measurement" and how to report nominal, ordinal, and continuous levels of measurements. Common descriptive statistics for continuous distributions are means, medians, and modes and ranges, interpercentile ranges, variances, and standard deviations. In this webinar, we will cover all of these statistics.
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Planning, Organizing, and Writing Effective Reports
Good communication planning involves identifying the audience, purpose, medium, and occasion of the communication. Planning a report can be made easier by following the PQRST approach: making sure the Purpose of the report is clear, identifying important physical Qualities of the finished report, understanding the information needs of Readers, understanding the Setting in which the report will be read and used, and defining the breadth and depth of the Topic to be addressed. By organizing the report around the flow of information through the organization, writers can improve how they think about the report and can write reports that better meet the organization's needs. Finally, using techniques to improve the processes of planning, drafting, revising, and polishing, writers can produce reports faster and better.
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How to Make Written Reports More Readable
Good writing is writing that is easily understood. Readability research has identified several features of language that, when incorporated into one's writing, not only improve comprehension but also shorten the text by up to 30%. However, the skills and knowledge required to achieve this improvement are generally not taught in school and are rarely acquired without prolonged, intensive training. This webinar will introduce participants to several of these features and show how they improve writing.
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Avoiding 12 Common Statistical Errors in Clinical Research
The poor quality of statistical reporting in the medical literature is long-standing, widespread, potentially serious, and not well known. Evidence-based medicine is literature-based medicine, so poorly reported research directly affects the quality of medical care and patient outcomes. In this webinar, participants will review evidence of this poor quality and learn to identify 12 common statistical errors in articles reporting clinical research. These errors are related to descriptive statistics, estimates and precision of estimates, measures of risk, regression analyses, and hypothesis testing (P values) and will introduce participants to the process of "critical appraisal" of research.
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