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A course in constructing effective displays of data for pharmaceutical research personnel


  • Supporting information may be found in the online version of this article.

Correspondence to: Thomas E. Bradstreet, Experimental Medicine Statistics, Merck Research Labs, North Wales, PA 19454 USA.



Interpreting data and communicating effectively through graphs and tables are requisite skills for statisticians and non-statisticians in the pharmaceutical industry. However, the quality of visual displays of data in the medical and pharmaceutical literature and at scientific conferences is severely lacking. We describe an interactive, workshop-driven, 2-day short course that we constructed for pharmaceutical research personnel to learn these skills. The examples in the course and the workshop datasets source from our professional experiences, the scientific literature, and the mass media. During the course, the participants are exposed to and gain hands-on experience with the principles of visual and graphical perception, design, and construction of both graphic and tabular displays of quantitative and qualitative information. After completing the course, with a critical eye, the participants are able to construct, revise, critique, and interpret graphic and tabular displays according to an extensive set of guidelines. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.