Fundamentals of Medical Statistics

Module code: MD7440

This module provides an overview of the basic statistical methods applied to medical/health data and an introduction to a range of study designs used to collect this data.

Statistical Methods

In this teaching week we will review simple traditional statistical methods, apply them to medical/health data sets and discuss the implications of the findings.

Topics covered may include:

  • A review of probability and distribution theory and how probability is communicated in medicine/health
  • The importance of sampling variation, how it can be quantified and its role in confidence intervals and hypothesis testing
  • Application of a number of simple exploratory and statistical methods to medical/health data using statistical software and reporting on the findings. These methods include:
    • Methods to compare group means, variances and proportions
    • Correlation and simple linear regression
    • Non-parametric methods
    • Measuring agreement
    • Diagnostic tests

Study Design

This teaching week introduces clinical trials, epidemiology and the design of experiments and the main study designs used within these three types of research. We also discuss the difference between data driven research and hypothesis testing research and how different data sources contribute to these.

Topics covered may include:

  • How to select an appropriate study design for a given research question, we will cover:
    • Clinical trial design
    • Epidemiological designs
    • Design of experiments
  • The difference between data-driven research, in particular the use of big data to generate hypotheses, and hypothesis-testing research


  • 24 hours of lectures
  • 24 hours of practical sessions
  • 102 hours of independent study


  • Exam, 90 minutes (50%)
  • Computer and problem-based exercises (20%)
  • Group poster production (30%)