PBH2002 - Foundations of biostatistics - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine


Dr Baki Billah

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit introduces students to the basic principles and methods used in biostatistics as applied to public health and clinical research.

The key concepts covered include the technical qualifications necessary for analysing and interpreting data on a descriptive and bivariate level.

The unit will cover topics which include classification of health data, sampling methods;, study design, summarizing data using simple statistical methods and graphical presentation, sampling distributions, quantifying uncertainty in results from a sample, statistical distributions (normal and t-distribution), comparing two independent/paired groups using t-test (p-value) and confidence intervals, comparing more than two groups using Analysis of variance (ANOVA), non-parametric tests for comparing two or more groups when normality assumptions do not hold, assessing the association between an outcome and an exposure using the chi-squared test, and risk comparisons (RR & OR).


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Examine and explain the importance of biostatistics in public health studies
  2. Classify data into appropriate measurement types.
  3. Present data using relevant tables, graphical displays, and summary statistics.
  4. Formulate and evaluate research hypotheses into a statistical context in public health studies.
  5. Accurately interpret statistical methods and results reported in health publications.
  6. Analyse data using the SPSS software package.


  • Written report (1500 words, excluding data analysis output and tables) (25%)
  • Data analysis report (1800 words, excluding data analysis output and tables) (30%)
  • Online quiz (MCQ) (30 minutes) (10%)
  • Examination (MCQ/SAQ) (2 hours) (35%)

Hurdle Requirement: 80% attendance at tutorials and participation in online tasks.

Workload requirements

1 hour lecture, 2 hour tutorial, 3 hours of directed online student learning activities, plus 6 hours of self-directed study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study