Statistical analysis is essential in many research fields, especially in the biomedical sciences and social sciences. Inappropriate analysis and reporting can lead to readers deriving wrong conclusions from the data, and consequently inappropriate decision-making with regard to medical care, public health, public policy, etc. It’s therefore not surprising that many reporting guidelines like CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials), STARD (Standards for Reporting Diagnostic Accuracy Studies), and STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) include sections on statistical reporting. Let’s take a look at the benefits of reporting your statistical research fully and accurately in your paper:
- Lower Chances of Erroneous Statements
When you understand how to interpret and report the statistics you’ve compiled, you will also be less likely to make incorrect conclusions or assumptions. For instance, if you obtain a Pearson’s correlation coefficient of 0.4 for the relationship between X and Y even if the p value is less than .05, you will likely be cautious in making any inferences about or recommendations based on this relationship, despite it being “statistically significant.”
- Increased Credibility as a Researcher
Appropriate statistics reporting improves how readers perceive your paper, especially if those readers are scientists in your own or related fields. When your analyses are described in detail, including all assumptions, treatment of outliers, etc., you gain the reputation of a thorough, meticulous, and diligent researcher. This improves your standing in your own organization, boosts your chances for collaboration with other prestigious senior researchers, and opens up opportunities to work with industry, government bodies, non-profits, etc.
- Smoother Peer Review Process
Incorrect or incomplete statistics can slow down the peer review process, as peer reviewers would take time in asking extra questions. For example, the reviewer may first ask for sample size to be described clearly, and in a subsequent round of review, point out that a particular test used is unsuitable for the sample size. This can add extra months to the peer review process and significantly delay publication.
- Stronger Chances of Publication in a High-Quality Journal
The race to publish is cut-throat, and journals often receive far more papers than they can publish. Papers that contain robust, high-quality data have greater chances of publication in leading and highly reputed journals if the authors have made sure to report all statistical analyses fully and accurately.
- Increased Opportunities for Collaboration
When you report statistics appropriately, other researchers will be able to replicate your results and compare them with existing data. This in turn enhances the credibility and generalizability of your research. When the research process is transparent, other researchers can better make use of your findings and offer you opportunities to collaborate with them to extend and supplement your own work. Additionally, your sound research results can also attract the attention of potential industry partners, public bodies, advocacy groups, etc., who can support you in future research endeavors.
- Better Utilization of Your Research
High-quality statistical reporting can lead to more-informed decision-making and evidence-based policies. Thus, your research results gain not only greater utility but also greater impact and importance.
- Higher Public Trust in Science
When statistical analyses are reported fully and accurately, the overall paper itself is less likely to be biased or contain erroneous conclusions. Further, increased transparency of the research process makes it easier for any inaccuracies or misinterpretations of data to be identified and corrected before publication. As a consequence, the published paper is less prone to corrections or retractions and gains greater public credibility.
Do you want to strengthen your research paper by perfecting your statistics reporting? Book time with an expert statistician for free (offer valid for a limited period only).