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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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Analyses that present health statistics draw on diverse sources. Each of these is created or compiled for a different purpose. Creators bring diverse perspectives to their work.

These shape
  • What is collected,
  • How it is collected,
  • The standards that govern compilation and
  • How results, reports, files and tables are released.

Many Perspectives
Expectations shape how health statistics are compiled, reported, and used.
  • Data collector's goals and perspectives shape what is reported, how it is interpreted and its impact.
  • User's questions shape what they extract from tables, reports, charts and datasets.
  • To effectively use health statistics, researchers need to be aware of these perspectives.
This section of the course presents a variety of perspectives that shape what is reported as fact.

We hope that you will gain an appreciation for the interaction between these perspectives and the resulting data. As you bring your own questions to an analysis of health statistics, your own perspectives will shape how you use health statistics. .

The differences between your point of view and those who report health statistics frequently mean that the best strategy is to consult different results to test the robustness of your ideas by comparing the results in different series.

The differences between results do not necessarily indicate that one is correct and others are mistaken. Rather, it is often the case that they each present useful answers to different questions.
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