Research in Emergency Medicine (EM) serves as the basis for informed, reasonable, effective medical practice and knowledge of research methods is a requirement of residency training in EM.
Our objective was to catalog the statistical methods used in four EM journals to find the most commonly employed techniques. We examined what types of studies were reported.
This was a cross-sectional observational study. We examined original research articles and meta-analyses published from July 2016 to June 2017. The journals included were Academic Emergency Medicine, the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Annals of Emergency Medicine, and the Journal of Emergency Medicine. For each article, we recorded the type of study performed and collected the number and type of statistical tests used. The use of statistical software packages was recorded.
We evaluated 545 articles. Almost 60% of them were cohort studies; 17% were randomized controlled trials, 15% were cross-sectional studies and 4% were meta-analyses. The mean number of statistical tests per article was 4.16 (SD = 1.98), with a median of 4 (IQR = 2). The top ten statistical techniques applied (descriptive statistics, confidence intervals, contingency tables, t-tests, epidemiologic statistics, non-parametric tests, regression analysis, power analysis, multiway tables, and non-parametric correlation) comprised 84% of all the methods employed.
An extensive array of statistical methods is utilized in EM research. The number and sophistication of statistical methods employed in the EM literature presents challenges for both practicing emergency physicians and residency educators and underscores the need for curriculum development.