Critical Reasoning

10 Units

This subject is designed to invest candidates with the intellectual and arithmetic skills to understand and calculate various statistics pertinent to the evaluation of the reliability, validity and efficacy techniques relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of pain. Furthermore, candidates will be instructed as to how to evaluate (and compose) literature on pain treatment. This subject does not preclude enrollment in other subjects.

Faculty Faculty of Health and Medicine
School School of Medicine and Public Health

Not currently offered

Previously offered in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004


To be able to analyse and determine the reliability and validity of a diagnostic tests for pain, in terms of Kappa scores, sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratiios, pre-test and post-test odds and probabilities. To be able to assess the efficacy of a treatment for pain:

  1. by being familiar the possible statistical tools although not necessarily able to coompute statistics inaided.
  2. by being able to identify critical issues seminal to the quality of a research paper on treatment. To be able to compose and present a written critique of a selected article.

Definition of Truth: Truth in Diagnosis - Reliability, Validity (concept, content, face, construct, therapeutic utility) Truth in Treatment - Efficacy, sensitivity analysis, confidence intervals, met-analysis, ANOVAs, survival curves, number needed to treat, systematic reviews, odds ratios. How to read or write a paper on pain. The importance of: source population, selection bias, drop out, observer bias, security of blinding, power calculation, tests of statistical significance (chi-square, Fisher’s exact test, survival analysis), VAS, psychological measures, cost-effectiveness, study sample, control group, intention to treat analysis, recall bias, independent observer, type I and type II errors, disability, treatment satisfaction, inception period, comparability, outcome measures, blinding, compliance, categorical vs continuous data, clinical significance (snesitivity analysis, NNT), health care utilisation, complications

Replacing Course(s) Nil.
Transition n/a
Industrial Experience 0
Assumed Knowledge Undergraduate competence in arithmetic and algebra.
Modes of Delivery Distance Learning : IT Based
Distance Learning : Paper Based
Teaching Methods Email Discussion Group
Self Directed Learning
Assessment Items
  • Essays / Written Assignments -
Contact Hours
  • Email Discussion Group: for 10 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
  • Requisite by Enrolment: This course is only available to students enrolled in the Master of Pain Medicine program.
Course Materials None listed
Timetable 2015 Course Timetables for MEDI6020

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