Understanding of biostatistics among the homeopathic fresh graduates and post-graduate trainees in West Bengal, India
Keywords: Biostatistics, knowledge, attitude, fresh graduates, post-graduate trainees, homeopathy, India
AbstractBackground: A basic understanding of biostatistics is essential, both for designing quality research and evaluating medical literature. We evaluated the understanding of biostatistics and interpretation of research results among homeopathic fresh graduatesâ€™ (House Staffs; HSs) and postgraduate traineesâ€™ (PGTs) in West Bengal, India. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of homeopathic HSs and PGTs in the four government homeopathic schools in West Bengal, India, using a pre-tested, valid and reliable biostatistics multiple choice knowledge, confidence and attitude test questionnaire. Results: Internal consistency of the used questionnaires was acceptable (Cronbachâ€™s Î± = 0.611 â€“ 0.672). Response rate was only 55.6%. Research journal reading habit was seriously lacking. No one had ever taken any research courses or possessed any advanced degrees or diplomas. The overall mean% correct on statistical knowledge was very poor, 1.0% (95% CI 0.1 â€“ 1.9%) vs. 10.0% (95% CI 8.6 â€“ 11.6%) for HSs and PGTs (P < 0.0001). Comparatively, higher knowledge scores were found in respondents from Mahesh Bhattacharyya Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital (P = 0.003). No one could interpret an unadjusted odds ratio, Kaplan-Meier analysis results, and determine strength of evidence for risk factors. Percentages of correct answers for all other knowledge-based questions ranged between only 2.7 â€“ 9.5%. Respondentsâ€™ self-assessed confidence in ability to understand biostatistics ranged between 41 â€“ 60%. Positive attitude towards biostatistics was elicited in 16 â€“ 63% respondents. Conclusions: The respondents seriously lacked knowledge in biostatistics needed to interpret research results. Training programs needs to undergo massive and immediate transformation to include more effective biostatistics training in curricula to encourage meaningful research.