A key aspect of successfully implementing
nutrition support research is data analysis. Ideally, researchers partner with
statisticians, biostatisticians, or epidemiologists to analyze and report data
from their study. It should be emphasized that, like nutrition support,
biostatistics is a specialized field. However, it is useful for researchers to
understand basic principles of biostatistics and know where they can obtain
training and resources for data analysis.
A.S.P.E.N. has published a pair of reports
summarizing basic principles of biostatistics.
Many commercially available statistical software
packages are available. Ideally, emerging investigators will collaborate with
an experienced biostatistician in the design of their work, obviating the need
for investment in statistical software. However, it is useful to be familiar
with some of the products that are currently on the market. The Biomedical Research Directory offers
nearly 20 statistical packages. Some of these can be downloaded free of charge,
some interface with common software such as EXCEL, while others are available
Online Training in Statistics
Comprehensive online training in statistics is available, which is free of charge and covers many topics of
interest to researchers in nutrition and other disciplines.
The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health offers
a wealth of online courses, lectures and slide decks on numerous topics in
public health. A lecture series in biostatistics and statistical modeling is available, along with dozens of online training resources that may
be useful to emerging researchers in nutrition support. A lecture series, course materials, and assignments on the
fundamentals of biostatistics also are
available. Interested researchers may also view an overview of statistical reasoning.
Data Quality and Management
A number of courses/tutorials are available,
including materials that cover the importance of data quality (not nutrition-specific, but applicable to clinical research
settings) and various aspects of data management.