Methods and Biostatistics: a concise guide for peer reviewers

Hippokratia 2010; 14 (Suppl 1): 13-22

A. Kyrgidis, S. Triaridis


The purpose of the Materials and Methods section of a scientific manuscript is to provide information in sufficient detail, so that another scientist working in the same field of endeavor is able to repeat the experiments and reproduce the results. Authors are entitled to a justified decision on the publication or not of their work. Thus, reviewers need to assure the authors that they have studied, correctly interpreted and fairly judged their work. This can be done by writing a short introductory paragraph in their critique, mentioning the type of study, the subjects recruited, the time and places the study was conducted, the interventions, the outcome measures and the statistical tests. All these information should be found in the methods section. If the reviewer cannot find these information, he needs not to read the whole article. Reading through the abstract and the methods section, he can reject the article on good grounds. If the methods section is appropriate, then the whole article need to be further reviewed. In this manuscript we shall discuss several critical aspects of the methods and statistics from the reviewer’s perspective to provide reviewers the knowledge basis to write the aforementioned introductory paragraph of their critique.