Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flaws in popular research method exposed

Date:
February 10, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Influential studies into subjects such as the safety and effectiveness of medicines or class size in schools could be called into question by a new report into ways of identifying research bias.

Influential studies into subjects such as the safety and effectiveness of medicines or class size in schools could be called into question by a new report into ways of identifying research bias.

The report by a leading statistician identifies the danger of relying solely on published work during systematic reviews of literature -- a common approach to research worldwide, which is often used to inform public policy.

Such literature reviews may be flawed because research with positive findings is more likely to be published than work that is inconclusive or disproves a hypothesis, says Alex Sutton, the Professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Leicester.

Using extensive data on trials into the efficacy of anti-depressants, Professor Sutton has evaluated statistical tools he developed to identify and compensate for the missing findings.

Each year, millions of pounds are spent on systematic reviews of evidence on a wide range of issues of interest to policy makers and academics. But according to Professor Sutton, from Leicester's Department of Health Sciences, the selection of material for publication and the way it is presented can lead to bias in such studies.

"Perhaps the greatest threat to the validity of a systematic review is the threat of publication bias," he says.

In his recent Inaugural Lecture entitled "Analysing the data you haven't got," Professor Sutton illustrated how he developed tools for identifying and quantifying bias in systematic reviews through work done on anti-depressants.

When he compared the research findings submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with results of the same trials published in scientific journals, he found many trials with less favourable results that had not been published. In other trials, the reporting of findings was biased towards positive results.

The statistical tools Professor Sutton developed performed very well in identifying and correcting the bias in the journal data.

"This gives confidence that the tools will be beneficial in topics where gold standard data is not available," he said.

"My work has been in the field of pharmaceutical products because I am in the School of Medicine, but the same bias can affect systematic reviews of published material in any sphere, be it the effect of class size in schools or the impact of divorce on children."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Flaws in popular research method exposed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210075726.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, February 10). Flaws in popular research method exposed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210075726.htm
University of Leicester. "Flaws in popular research method exposed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210075726.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) Microsoft will acquire the maker of the long-running hit game Minecraft for $2.5 billion as the company continues to invest in its Xbox gaming platform and looks to grab attention on mobile phones. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What $2.5B Deal Could Mean For Microsoft, 'Minecraft'

What $2.5B Deal Could Mean For Microsoft, 'Minecraft'

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) While Microsoft looks to be expanding its mobile business, the creators of "Minecraft" are stepping aside. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins