PUBH4401 Biostatistics I

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Physics; Population Health [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
This unit describes and discusses applications of basic biostatistical methods in public health and clinical practice and research. Topics include summarising and presenting data, estimation and hypothesis testing for means, proportions, odds ratios, rates, rate ratios, survival curves and sample size determination. There is an emphasis on developing an in-depth understanding of the role, use and interpretation of basic biostatistical methods and critical appraisal of statistical aspects of health and medical publications. The unit provides the essential foundation of applied knowledge needed for quantitative analyses of health and medical data and for critical reading of literature.
Students are able to (1) appreciate the role of statistics in health and medical practice and research; (2) understand the statistical content of articles in general health and medical literature; (3) know how to summarise and present data; (4) know how to interpret confidence intervals and hypothesis tests; (5) calculate confidence intervals and carry out hypothesis tests for comparison of means, proportions, incidence rates and survival curves, and know when to apply specific methods; (6) understand and calculate correlation coefficients and apply linear regression; and (7) use the IBM SPSS Statistics package for entering data, calculating data summaries and for statistical analysis.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) assignments (which involve computing) and (2) tests. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Kevin Murray
Unit rules
enrolment in honours
postgraduate courses
Advisable prior study:
knowledge of basic algebra, familiarity with handheld calculators and familiarity with computing in the Windows environment
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; Practical Classes: 1.5 hours per week (for face-to-face mode only)
Unit Outline
Students require a handheld scientific calculator. Unless students have access to the IBM SPSS Statistics package elsewhere, they will use it in the School of Population Health computer laboratories.

Altman, D. G. Practical Statistics for Medical Research, 1st edn: Chapman & Hall 1991

Blair, R. C. and Taylor, R. A. Biostatistics for the Health Sciences: Pearson International 2007

Dawson, B. and Trapp, R. G. Basic and Clinical Biostatistics, 4th edn: Lange 2004

De Veaux, R. D. et al. Stats: Data and Models: Pearson Education 2012

Ennos, A. R. Statistical and Data Handling Skills in Biology, 3rd edn: Longman 2011

Glantz, S. A. Primer of Biostatistics, 7th edn: McGraw Hill 2012

Pagano, M. and Gauvreau, K. Principles of Biostatistics, 2nd edn: Duxburry 2000


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.