Bethan Copsey


DPhil student

Medical statistician passionate about improving the design and reporting of health services research

My doctoral research is on methods for sample size calculation in randomised controlled trials of musculoskeletal conditions. Choosing the right number of participants in a trial helps ensure that trial is designed ethically and will produce conclusive results without wasting resources. If we choose too few participants, we won’t achieve conclusive results. If we choose too many participants, then we will be giving more people than we need to a treatment with uncertain benefits that could cause unwanted side effects and we will have taken potential participants away from other trials.

I enjoy explaining statistical concepts to non-statisticians and I love the feeling when I’ve helped someone to reach a ‘lightbulb moment’. I contribute to the Students 4 Best Evidence blog on evidence-based healthcare to help promote statistical literacy. I also take part in outreach activities to encourage sixth-form students to learn more about medical statistics as part of the department’s work experience scheme.

I joined the Centre for Statistics in Medicine in July 2014 as a medical statistician in the Centre for Rehabilitation Research in Oxford (RRiO). I worked on systematic reviews, meta-analyses and clinical trials of physiotherapy and exercise programmes for back pain and arthritis.

I graduated with an undergraduate Master’s in Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics (MMORSE) in 2014 from the University of Warwick. I also completed an NIHR research methods internship at the University of Leicester as part of the TIMMS groups, working on projects about premature infants.

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