1 Section of Biostatistics, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (IMIBE), University Hospital of Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen3 Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.4 Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, National University Health System5 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital6 Unit of Epidemiology & Medical Statistics, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Verona, Italy.7 unknown8 Section of Biostatistics, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
The STRATOS initiative
The validity and practical utility of observational medical research depends critically on good study design, excellent data quality, appropriate statistical methods and accurate interpretation of results. Statistical methodology has seen substantial development in recent times. Unfortunately, many of these methodological developments are ignored in practice. Consequently, design and analysis of observational studies often exhibit serious weaknesses. The lack of guidance on vital practical issues discourages many applied researchers from using more sophisticated and possibly more appropriate methods when analyzing observational studies. Furthermore, many analyses are conducted by researchers with a relatively weak statistical background and limited experience in using statistical methodology and software. Consequently, even 'standard' analyses reported in the medical literature are often flawed, casting doubt on their results and conclusions. An efficient way to help researchers to keep up with recent methodological developments is to develop guidance documents that are spread to the research community at large. These observations led to the initiation of the strengthening analytical thinking for observational studies (STRATOS) initiative, a large collaboration of experts in many different areas of biostatistical research. The objective of STRATOS is to provide accessible and accurate guidance in the design and analysis of observational studies. The guidance is intended for applied statisticians and other data analysts with varying levels of statistical education, experience and interests.In this article, we introduce the STRATOS initiative and its main aims, present the need for guidance documents and outline the planned approach and progress so far. We encourage other biostatisticians to become involved.
Statistics in Medicine, 2014, Vol 33, Issue 30, p. 5413-5432
Guidance for analysis; Level of statistical knowledge; Observational studies