About MSDT

                                                                                               Dr Christine Butenuth

My name is Christine and I am a natural scientist, a geologist by first training and now Chartered, but someone who has worked for most of her career in academia and has also completed a BSc (Hons) in Maths and Stats to assist my own research in natural science. I was asked to write a book on numeracy for midwives for those natural midwives who had difficulty with “numbers”, and it was through this I was introduced to the RCGP. Out of that contact came an awareness of the need to support medical doctors in their use of statistics; a tool used by them on a daily basis.

Many medical practitioners have had to acquire some statistical knowledge to deal with what is expected of them and many courses exist which teach statistics. Path finder has been compiled to support this education and lend a hand to the medical practitioner seeking a path through the “maze” of statistical theory and practice, a maze that shows every sign of growing continuously.

In my endeavours to do this I have been fortunate to benefit from the assistance of medical doctors and statisticians who were prepared to help me with this task, and I am very grateful to them for the help, guidance and encouragement they have given me along the way.

There has been an explosion in the use of statistics, made possible with the advent of computers.

  • This in turn has created a number of difficulties for those in medical practice:
  • Medical doctors are now expected to use statistics confidently in a number of medical contexts, not only amongst themselves but also with patients who have no concept of statistics.
  • Powerful computer programs have been developed which appear to be able to offer complex statistical testing with little effort; but – and here is the trick – to be able to use these programs professionally, knowledge and training is required.
  • Statistics is a subject which requires boundary conditions to be defined, time and again, and it is not always easy to see which statistical tests either can or should be used under appropriate circumstances – and that is where Path finder comes in. It provides a route map to help you get from the data you have and the question you are asking, to a statistically valid answer.

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