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Extra resources for Physics Reports vol.49

Sample text

3 is incorrect and virtually valueless unless the selection of the samples from the lot satisfies (at least to a good approximation) the condition of randomness. The science of statistics establishes relationships between samples and populations. These relationships allow us to judge the reliability of a sample as a representation of the population. But in practically all cases, such relationships are based on the assumption of randomness in the selection of the sample. I t follows that the drawing of inferences from sample to population by statistical means is unjustified and may in fact lead to serious errors if the conditions of randomness are grossly violated.

The determination of this param- Sec. 6 STATISTICS AS A DIAGNOSTIC TOOL 25 eter and of its precision may have validity. Yet from the viewpoint of determining the efficacy of the drug for the treatment of arthritis the experiment, standing by itself, is valueless. Indeed, the parameter determined by the experiment, in order to be an index of the efficacy of the drug, must be compared with a similarly determined parameter for other drugs or for no drug at all. Such information may be available from other sources and in that case a comparison of the values of the parameter for different drugs, or for a particular drug versus no drug, may shed considerable light on the problem.

Yet from the viewpoint of determining the efficacy of the drug for the treatment of arthritis the experiment, standing by itself, is valueless. Indeed, the parameter determined by the experiment, in order to be an index of the efficacy of the drug, must be compared with a similarly determined parameter for other drugs or for no drug at all. Such information may be available from other sources and in that case a comparison of the values of the parameter for different drugs, or for a particular drug versus no drug, may shed considerable light on the problem.

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Physics Reports vol.49


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