The Ethics of Study Analysis

  • Jan Van den Broeck
  • Jonathan R. Brestoff


From the medical literature one might gain the impression that data analysis is not much more than a matter of choosing the right estimators and making the appropriate adjustments for confounders. Yet the process of data analysis has important ethical and practical dimensions that are less apparent from reading research papers. In analyzing data, there are interactions among multiple persons, and critical decisions must be made for the calculation and selection of outputs for reporting. Even if the analysis plan is very well designed, each step in the analysis process is liable to becoming a source of bias, irreproducibility, inefficiency, poor documentation, disrespect for confidentiality, and even fraud. This chapter explores the causes of analytical deviances and strategies to prevent them. These topics are contextualized with discussions of the importance of ethical data analysis and the responsibilities of analysts involved in a research study.


Analysis Dataset Data Analyst Statistical Analysis Plan Data Safety Monitoring Board Analysis Syntax 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for International Health, Faculty of Medicine and DentistryUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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