StatXFinder: a web-based self-directed tool that provides appropriate statistical test selection for biomedical researchers in their scientific studies

Creative Commons License

Suner A. , Karakulah G., Kosaner O., Dicle O.

SPRINGERPLUS, cilt.4, 2015 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier


The improper use of statistical methods is common in analyzing and interpreting research data in biological and medical sciences. The objective of this study was to develop a decision support tool encompassing the commonly used statistical tests in biomedical research by combining and updating the present decision trees for appropriate statistical test selection. First, the decision trees in textbooks, published articles, and online resources were scrutinized, and a more comprehensive unified one was devised via the integration of 10 distinct decision trees. The questions also in the decision steps were revised by simplifying and enriching of the questions with examples. Then, our decision tree was implemented into the web environment and the tool titled StatXFinder was developed. Finally, usability and satisfaction questionnaires were applied to the users of the tool, and StatXFinder was reorganized in line with the feedback obtained from these questionnaires. StatXFinder provides users with decision support in the selection of 85 distinct parametric and non-parametric statistical tests by directing 44 different yes-no questions. The accuracy rate of the statistical test recommendations obtained by 36 participants, with the cases applied, were 83.3 % for "difficult" tests, and 88.9 % for "easy" tests. The mean system usability score of the tool was found 87.43 +/- 10.01 (minimum: 70-maximum: 100). A statistically significant difference could not be seen between total system usability score and participants' attributes (p value >0.05). The User Satisfaction Questionnaire showed that 97.2 % of the participants appreciated the tool, and almost all of the participants (35 of 36) thought of recommending the tool to the others. In conclusion, StatXFinder, can be utilized as an instructional and guiding tool for biomedical researchers with limited statistics knowledge.