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Research Elective - Central Valley

Course Description

This 4-week distance learning elective designed to introduce 3rd and 4th year medical students to the concepts and methods of clinical research.

Course Objectives:

  1. Explain the difference between internal and external validity and how each relates to the research question, study plan, and actual study.
  2. Analyze the components of a research question in terms of study design, predictor, outcome, and population and evaluate using the FINER criteria.
  3. Compare the different probability and nonprobability sampling methods.
  4. Analyze a study design in terms of target population, accessible population, sampling scheme, and generalizability.
  5. Explain the difference between dichotomous, nominal, ordinal, continuous and discrete numerical variables.
  6. Explain the difference between precision and accuracy, how they are related to different types of bias, and how this affects validity.
  7. Analyze the difference between cross-sectional, cohort, and case-control studies and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  8. Select a study design that is appropriate a clinical research question.
  9. Analyze the components of a randomized trial and design one to answer a hypothetical research question.
  10. Explain the concept of the null hypothesis, alternative hypothesis, one-sided and two-sided tests, and power.
  11. Estimate sample size for a desired power and statistical significance.
  12. Compare explain different statistical methods, including Student’s T test, ANOVA, Chi square, linear correlation, simple and multiple regression.
  13. Develop a research question and perform a relevant literature search.
  14. Optional: start writing manuscript for a case report

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply understanding of the material covered to answer weekly questions.
  2. Apply the concepts of this course to critically analyze medical literature.
  3. Perform basic statistical analysis and power calculations.

Student Expectations

  1. Turn in assignments on time.
  2. Attend weekly virtual meetings.

Evaluation Methods

  1. Weekly questions and practice problems
  2. Writing assignment – case report

Textbook Information: Hulley, Stephen. Designing Clinical Research, 4th Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.

Course Calendar

Week 1: Process of Research

  • Learning objectives 1-6
  • Topics:
    • Developing a research question
    • Introduction to study design
    • Choosing study subjects: specification, sampling, recruitment
    • Planning measurements: precision, accuracy, and validity
  • Reading assignments: DCR, ch. 1-4

Week 2: Types of Studies

  • Learning objectives 7-9
  • Topics:
    • Cross-sectional studies
    • Case-control studies
    • Clinical trials
  • Types of studies
  • Reading: DCR, ch. 7,8,10

Week 3 – Statistical Methods

  • Learning objectives 10-12
  • Topics:
    • Estimating sample size and power
    • Statistical methods
  • Reading: DCR, ch. 5,6 and additional content provided by instructor

Week 4 – Literature Searches, Paper Writing, Grant Writing

  • Learning objectives 13-14
  • Topics:
    • Literature searches
    • Writing the manuscript
    • Submitting for publication
    • Grant writing
  • Reading: DCR, ch. 19 and additional content provided by instructor

How to Apply

Edward Durant, MD, MPH, FACEP

For more information and to apply to this elective, contact Michele Helwick, GME Manager:

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