University of Oulu

Nieminen, P., & Vähänikkilä, H. (2020). Use of Data Analysis Methods in Dental Publications: Is There Evidence of a Methodological Change? Publications, 8(1), 9. doi:10.3390/publications8010009

Use of data analysis methods in dental publications : is there evidence of a methodological change?

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Author: Nieminen, Pentti1; Vähänikkilä, Hannu2
Organizations: 1Medical Informatics and Data Analysis Research Group, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Infrastructure of Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-04-16


Objectives: To evaluate how data analysis methods in dental studies have changed in recent years.

Methods: A total of 400 articles published in 2010 and 2017 in five dental journals, Journal of Dental Research, Caries Research, Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, Journal of Dentistry, and Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, were analyzed. The study characteristics and the reporting of data analysis techniques were systematically identified.

Results: The statistical intensity of the dental journals did not change from 2010 to 2017. Dental researchers did not adopt the data mining, machine learning, or Bayesian approaches advocated in the computer-oriented methodological literature. The determination of statistical significance was the most generally used method for conducting research in both 2010 and 2017. Observational study designs were more common in 2017. Insufficient and incomplete descriptions of statistical methods were still a serious problem.

Conclusion: The stabilization of statistical intensity in the literature suggests that papers applying highly computationally complex data analysis methods have not meaningfully contributed to dental research or clinical care. Greater rigor is required in reporting the methods in dental research articles, given the current pervasiveness of failure to describe the basic techniques used.

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Series: Publications
ISSN: 2304-6775
ISSN-E: 2304-6775
ISSN-L: 2304-6775
Volume: 8
Issue: 1
Article number: 9
DOI: 10.3390/publications8010009
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 313 Dentistry
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (