Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Some Friday Humor

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Nov• 30•07

The following list of phrases and their definitions might help you understand the mysterious language of science and medicine. These special phrases are also applicable to anyone working on a Ph.D. dissertation or academic paper anywhere!

“It has long been known” = I didn’t look up the original reference.

“A definite trend is evident” = These data are practically meaningless.

“While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to the questions” = An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.

“Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study” = The other results didn’t make any sense.

“Typical results are shown” = This is the prettiest graph.

“These results will be in a subsequent report” = I might get around to this sometime, if pushed/funded.

“In my experience” = once.

“In case after case” = twice.

“In a series of cases” = thrice.

“Correct within an order of magnitude” = Wrong.

“According to statistical analysis” = Rumor has it.

“A statistically oriented projection of the significance of these findings” = A wild guess.

“A careful analysis of obtainable data” = Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of pop.

“It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding of this phenomenon occurs”= I don’t understand it.

“After additional study by my colleagues”= They don’t understand it either.

“A highly significant area for exploratory study” = A totally useless topic selected by my committee.

“It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigation in this field” = I quit.

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  1. These are great. But I learned a few slightly differently in clinical training: “In my experience” = the one time I’ve seen this. “In my series” = the two cases like this I’ve seen. And “Time, after time, after time!! (with slapping the back of hand into the other palm for emphasis)” = the three cases of this I’ve seen.

  2. Alan says:

    What’s sad is how well these phrases work in a variety of fields: polling, politics, business. Well, not sad, but hardly reassuring.
    But thanks for sharing.

    “Thanks for sharing = Yipee! I can use them without citing the Healthcare Economist”

  3. Matt says:

    Hilarious! I especially like the one about spilling soda on the notes. Great blog by the way.

  4. […] From HealthCare Economist: […]