Statistical presentation and analysis of ordered categorical outcome data in rheumatology journals

Authors

  • Michael P. LaValley,

    Corresponding author
    1. Boston University School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    • Boston University Arthritis Center, 715 Albany Street, A203, Boston, MA 02118
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  • David T. Felson

    1. Boston University School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Objective

To assess the appropriateness of presentation of summary measures and analysis of ordered categorical (ordinal) data in three rheumatology journals in 1999, and to consider differences between basic and clinical science articles.

Methods

Six hundred forty-four full-length articles from the 1999 editions of 3 rheumatology journals were evaluated for inclusion of an ordinal outcome. Articles were classified as basic or clinical science, and the appropriateness of presentation and analysis of the ordinal outcome were assessed. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate difference in percentages.

Results

Ordinal outcomes were identified in 175 (27.2%) of 644 articles. Only 69 (39.4%) had appropriate data presentation, and 111 (63.4%) had appropriate data analysis. Appropriate presentation was seen less commonly in the basic science rather than the clinical science articles, but differences in the occurrence of appropriate analysis were not seen.

Conclusion

Ordinal data are common in rheumatology articles, but presentation usually does not conform to recommended guidelines.

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