I am still working on the details of a presentation for the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. They want me to talk at lunch during the 2007 Homecoming CME and Reunion weekend. The new title is "Medical Journals - The Trouble with Apples and Oranges."
Here's a tentative abstract:
"Finding a good control group is an underappreciated art in research. We often don't notice this until someone makes a stunningly bad choice, leading to the classic difficulty of comparing apples and oranges. In this talk, you will learn what to look for in a control group. You will also see the knots that researchers tie themselves in when they insist on a placebo arm in a birth control study and when they try to evaluate the prognosis of patients who are already dead. You will also see an example where two bad control groups can add up to a good comparison."
Most of the material for this talk will come from the first chapter of my book, Statistical Evidence in Medical Trials.
In order to get CME credit, I need to specify three objectives. Here they are:
In this talk, you will learn how to:
- recognize the importance of a good control group in research studies,
- identify the characteristics of a good control group, and
- appreciate the ethical and practical constraints in selection of the control group.