PUBH4401 Biostatistics I

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Semester 2OnlineOnline
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.
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
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.
  • 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 via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.