PUBH4401 Biostatistics I

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
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) interpret the statistical content of articles in general health and medical literature; (2) present summarised data to enable ready interpretation by others; (3) calculate confidence intervals for means, proportions, incidence rates and survival; (4) conduct hypothesis tests for comparison of means, proportions, incidence rates and survival curves,; (5) calculate correlation coefficients; (6) apply linear regression; (7) apply specific statistical methods appropriately using standard statistical software; (8) interpret confidence intervals, hypothesis tests, correlation coefficients and linear regression; (9) identify appropriate methods for power and sample size calculations; and (10) use the IBM SPSS Statistics package for entering data, calculating data summaries and for statistical analysis.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (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 or 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; tutorials: 1.5 hours per week (for face-to-face mode only)
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
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 and Global Health computer laboratories.

Altman, D. G. Practical Statistics for Medical Research, (any edition): Chapman & Hall 

Blair, R. C. and Taylor, R. A. Biostatistics for the Health Sciences, (any edition): Pearson International

Dawson, B. and Trapp, R. G. Basic and Clinical Biostatistics, (any edition): Lange

De Veaux, R. D. et al. Stats: Data and Models, (any edition): Pearson Education 

Ennos, A. R. Statistical and Data Handling Skills in Biology, (any edition): Longman

Glantz, S. A. Primer of Biostatistics, (any edition): McGraw Hill

Pagano, M. and Gauvreau, K. Principles of Biostatistics, (any edition): Duxburry 


  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus. Copies of textbooks and other readings will be made available for students to access from the Library, online wherever possible as well as in print.
  • If this unit is offered as on-campus face-to-face study only, students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.