Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Avoiding bias in medical research

Date:
October 17, 2011
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
A new statistical approach to address the problem of bias in self-reporting has been developed.

Most people are rather vague when reporting on food and drink consumption, smoking and exercise habits. General practitioners, however, are skilled at interpreting phrases such as "I only have a few drinks rarely...each week" and "I get to the gym regularly" and can estimate based on symptoms and a person's physical appearance just how precise those claims are. However, it is crucial for healthcare research and epidemiology that relies on patient self-reporting that we find a more objective, rather than intuitive, way to identify bias in self-reporting.

A new statistical approach to address the problem of bias in self-reporting has been developed by a team at Washington State University in Pullman. The technique, reported in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research, is based on stochastic frontier estimation (SFE). SFE is more commonly used in economics and market research to spot statistical errors and unanticipated deviations from the norms in data. The approach helps highlight when the subjects of medical research may either deliberately or inadvertently bias the information they provide to researchers.

"There are many reasons individuals might offer biased estimates of self-assessed behavior, ranging from a misunderstanding of what a proper measurement is to social-desirability bias, where the respondent wants to 'look good' in the survey, even if the survey is anonymous," explains Robert Rosenman, who coauthored the study with Laura Hill and Vidhura Tennekoon. "Response bias itself can be problematic in program evaluation and research, but is especially troublesome when it causes a recalibration of bias after an intervention," he adds.

SFE can identify bias at specific times in self-reported data and in particular identify bias after a healthcare intervention so that researchers can determine whether or not self-reporting patients have biased their responses because they presume the intervention should have caused changes. This characteristic of the technique could ensure that double-blind placebo-controlled trials are more robust in terms of the validity of data. It could help improve results obtained before and after an experimental treatment is given to one group and the placebo to another when neither party, patient or researcher, is aware in advance of which group a patient is in.

Using data involving family dynamics and interventions to help strengthen family bonds, the team has demonstrated the statistical aspects of the SFE approach. "SFE allows the researcher to identify bias and causal factors at the individual level, it expands our ability to identify, understand, explain, and potentially correct for, response shift bias," Rosenman explains.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert Rosenman, Laura Hill and Vidhura Tennekoon. Measuring bias in self-reported data. International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research, 2011, 2, 320-332

Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Avoiding bias in medical research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017102550.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2011, October 17). Avoiding bias in medical research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017102550.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Avoiding bias in medical research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111017102550.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. 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