Assessing Statistical Competencies in Clinical and Translational Science Education: One Size Does Not Fit All

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Statistics is an essential training component for a career in clinical and translational science (CTS). Given the increasing complexity of statistics, learners may have difficulty selecting appropriate courses. Our question was: what depth of statistical knowledge do different CTS learners require? Methods: For three types of CTS learners (principal investigator, co-investigator, informed reader of the literature), each with different backgrounds in research (no previous research experience, reader of the research literature, previous research experience), 18 experts in biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design proposed levels for 21 statistical competencies. Results: Statistical competencies were categorized as fundamental, intermediate, or specialized. CTS learners who intend to become independent principal investigators require more specialized training, while those intending to become informed consumers of the medical literature require more fundamental education. For most competencies, less training was proposed for those with more research background. Discussion: When selecting statistical coursework, the learner's research background and career goal should guide the decision. Some statistical competencies are considered to be more important than others. Baseline knowledge assessments may help learners identify appropriate coursework. Conclusion: Rather than one size fits all, tailoring education to baseline knowledge, learner background, and future goals increases learning potential while minimizing classroom time.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Oster RA; Lindsell CJ; Welty LJ; Mazumdar M; Thurston SW; Rahbar MH; Carter RE; Pollock BH; Cucchiara AJ; Kopras EJ
  • Start Page

  • 32
  • End Page

  • 42
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 1