Article Text

PDF
In review
  1. Roderick J McClure
  1. School of Rural Medicine, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Roderick J McClure, School of Rural Medicine, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia; rmcclure{at}une.edu.au

Statistics from Altmetric.com

The end of the year is a conventional time to take stock and assess ones performance over the preceding 12-month period. Comparisons are invariably the currency of these evaluations. Both the notion of evaluation, and the use of comparisons as a tool for undertaking it, are appropriate. The usefulness of the evaluation effort depends on the way the performance questions are framed, and the relevance of the comparisons being made.

As scientists, we are all aware of the importance of getting the research question right. First the question, and after that the rest. As scientists, comparisons are our tools of trade. Epidemiologists are people who compare rates. Importantly, it is ‘rates’ not ‘counts’. Discussion is endlessly had over which rate is the right comparison.

From comparisons, we clarify sets of correlations unencumbered by alternative explanations and draw inferences about causation. This process is simpler in controlled research environments than …

View Full Text

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.