Statistical testing against baseline was common in dental research

Koletsi, Despina; Madahar, Arun; Fleming, Padhraig S; Pandis, Nikolaos (2015). Statistical testing against baseline was common in dental research. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 68(7), pp. 776-781. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.01.005

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OBJECTIVES To assess the presence of within-group comparisons with baseline in a subset of leading dental journals and to explore possible associations with a range of study characteristics including journal and study design. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING Thirty consecutive issues of five leading dental journals were electronically searched. The conduct and reporting of statistical analysis in respect of comparisons against baseline or otherwise along with the manner of interpretation of the results were assessed. Descriptive statistics were obtained, and chi-square test and Fisher's exact were undertaken to test the association between trial characteristics and overall study interpretation. RESULTS A total of 184 studies were included with the highest proportion published in Journal of Endodontics (n = 84, 46%) and most involving a single center (n = 157, 85%). Overall, 43 studies (23%) presented interpretation of their outcomes based solely on comparisons against baseline. Inappropriate use of baseline testing was found to be less likely in interventional studies (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION Use of comparisons with baseline appears to be common among both observational and interventional research studies in dentistry. Enhanced conduct and reporting of statistical tests are required to ensure that inferences from research studies are appropriate and informative.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Orthodontics

UniBE Contributor:

Pandis, Nikolaos


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Eveline Carmen Schuler

Date Deposited:

29 Mar 2016 14:15

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2016 14:15

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Analysis, Baseline testing, Dental, Reporting, Statistics, Within group comparison




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