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The N’s justify the Means

Probability provides a tool for public health professionals to assist populations in making healthier decisions. Consider for example how public health is concerned with issues such as the likelihood of incidence of certain infectious diseases, the effectiveness of interventions for chronic diseases, and the improvement of safety and health of communities. If for example, by educating the public about wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle may reduce the risk of serious head or brain injury by more than 80%, you are using probability to encourage better health choices.

Additionally, when conducting statistical analyses, some experimental design factors might contribute to the estimate of the necessary sample size. For this Discussion, consider the factors that might contribute to sample size.

Team,

This week, we shall examine, probability and normal distribution. One may ask, what are the chances of an outbreak of West Nile virus in your area? What are the odds that a particular behavior modification or intervention will be successful in promoting positive health outcomes?

These types of questions can be answered using probability theory. Words like chance, likelihood and odds refer to how probable an event may occur. In statistics, probability is the mathematical language of uncertainty. As a foundational principle in statistics, probability can be used to determine patterns that may emerge from random phenomena.

This week, you examine statistical analysis and explore factors that may contribute to the relevance or irrelevance of sample size. You also consider concepts related to probability distributions, including the normal distribution.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Evaluate factors contributing to the relevance or irrelevance of sample size in statistical analyses
  • Analyze probability distribution based on contributing factors
  • Identify concepts related to probability and the normal distribution

Discussion 1: The N’s Justify the Means

Probability provides a tool for public health professionals to assist populations in making healthier decisions. Consider for example how public health is concerned with issues such as the likelihood of incidence of certain infectious diseases, the effectiveness of interventions for chronic diseases, and the improvement of safety and health of communities. If for example, by educating the public about wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle may reduce the risk of serious head or brain injury by more than 80%, you are using probability to encourage better health choices.

Additionally, when conducting statistical analyses, some experimental design factors might contribute to the estimate of the necessary sample size. For this Discussion, consider the factors that might contribute to sample size.

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