About this Course
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Subtitles: English

Skills you will gain

Clinical ResearchStatisticsStatistical AnalysisStatistical Hypothesis Testing

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.


Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

5 hours to complete

Getting things started by defining study types

Welcome to the first week of this course. We’ll be tackling five broad topics to provide you with an intuitive understanding of clinical research results. This isn’t a comprehensive statistics course, but it offers a practical orientation to the field of medical research and commonly used statistical analysis. The first topics will look at research methods and the collection of data - with a specific focus on study types. By the end of the lectures you should be able to identify which study types are being used and why the researchers selected them when you are reading a paper.

11 videos (Total 45 min), 11 readings, 2 quizzes
11 videos
About the course2m
Observing and intervening: Observational & experimental studies3m
Observing and describing: Case series studies3m
Comparing groups: Case-control studies3m
Collecting data at one point in time: Cross-sectional studies3m
Studying a group with common traits: Cohort studies4m
Let's intervene: Experimental studies6m
Working with existing research: Meta-analysis and Systematic Review4m
Doing a literature search: Part 14m
Doing a literature search: Part 26m
11 readings
How this course works10m
Pre-course survey10m
Study types10m
Key notes: Observational and experimental studies10m
Key notes: Case series studies10m
Key notes: Case-control studies10m
Key notes: Cross-sectional studies10m
Key notes: Cohort studies10m
Key notes: Experimental studies10m
Key notes: Meta-analysis and systematic review10m
Peer review introduction10m
1 practice exercise
Test your knowledge: Study types16m
4 hours to complete

Describing your data

With the next topics, we finally get started with the statistics. Have you ever looked at the methods and results section of any healthcare research publication and noted the variety of statistical tests used? You would have come across terms like t-test, Mann-Whitney-U test, Wilcoxon test, Fisher’s exact test and the ubiquitous chi-squared test. Why so many tests you might wonder? It’s all about types of data. In this week, I am going to tackle the differences in data which determine what type of statistical test we can use in making sense of our data.

15 videos (Total 64 min), 12 readings, 4 quizzes
15 videos
Some key concepts: Definitions4m
Data types1m
Arbitary classification: Nominal categorical data1m
Natural ordering of attributes: Ordinal categorical data2m
Measurements and numbers: Numerical data types3m
How to tell the difference: Discrete and continuous variables3m
Measures of central tendency5m
Measures of dispersion6m
(Optional) Setting up spreadsheet software to do your own analysis3m
(Optional) Descriptive statistics using spreadsheet software9m
Making inferences: Sampling5m
Types of sampling3m
Case study 19m
12 readings
Key notes: Definitions10m
Key notes: Data types10m
Key notes: Nominal categorical data10m
Key notes: Ordinal categorical data10m
Key notes: Numerical data types10m
Key notes: Discrete and continuous variables10m
Key notes: Describing the data10m
Key notes: Measures of central tendency10m
Key notes: Measures of dispersion10m
Visual representation of data10m
Key notes: Sampling10m
Key notes: Types of sampling10m
4 practice exercises
Test your knowledge: Data types10m
Test your knowledge: Measures of central tendency and dispersion10m
Test your knowledge: Sampling10m
Week 2 Graded Quiz20m
4 hours to complete

Building an intuitive understanding of statistical analysis

There is hardly any healthcare professional who is unfamiliar with the p-value. It is usually understood to have a watershed value of 0.05. If a research question is evaluated through the collection of data points and statistical analysis reveals a value less that 0.05, we accept this a proof that some significant difference was found, at least statistically.In reality things are a bit more complicated than that. The literature is currently full of questions about the ubiquitous p-vale and why it is not the panacea many of us have used it as. During this week you will develop an intuitive understanding of concept of a p-value. From there, I'll move on to the heart of probability theory, the Central Limit Theorem and data distribution.

14 videos (Total 78 min), 12 readings, 4 quizzes
14 videos
Working out the probability: Rolling dice5m
Area under the curve: Continuous data types4m
Introduction to the central limit theorem: The heart of probability theory1m
Asymmetry and peakedness: Skewness and Kurtosis4m
Learning from the lotto: Combinations4m
Approximating a bell-shaped curve: The central limit theorem4m
Patterns in the data: Distributions2m
The bell-shaped curve: Normal distribution3m
Plotting a sample statistic: Sampling distribution7m
Standard normal distribution: Z distribution9m
Estimating population parameters: t-distribution3m
(Optional) Generating random data point values using spreadsheet software6m
Case study 217m
12 readings
Key notes: P-values10m
Key notes: Rolling dice10m
Key notes: Continuous data types10m
Introduction to the central limit theorem10m
Key notes: Skewness and kurtosis10m
Key notes: Combinations10m
Key notes: Central limit theorem10m
Key notes: Distributions10m
Key notes: Normal distribution10m
Key notes: Sampling distribution10m
Key notes: Z-distribution10m
Key notes: The t-distibution10m
4 practice exercises
Test your knowledge: Probability10m
Test your knowledge: The central limit theorem10m
Test your knowledge: Distributions10m
Week 3 Graded Quiz20m
4 hours to complete

The important first steps: Hypothesis testing and confidence levels

In general, a researcher has a question in mind that he or she needs an answer to. Everyone might have an opinion on the question (or answer), but an investigator looks for the answer by designing an experiment and investigating the outcome. In the first lesson we will look at hypotheses and how they relate to ethical and unbiased research and reporting.We'll also tackle Confidence intervals which I believe are one of the least understood and often misrepresented values in healthcare research. The most common tests used in the literature to compare numerical data point values are t-tests, analysis of variance, and linear regression. In the last lesson we take a closer look at these tests, but perhaps more importantly, their strict assumptions.

8 videos (Total 33 min), 6 readings, 3 quizzes
8 videos
Testing assumptions: Null and alternative hypothesis3m
Is there a difference?: Alternative Hypothesis4m
Type I and II: Hypothesis testing errors3m
Introduction to confidence intervals3m
How confident are you?: Confidence levels3m
Interval estimation: Confidence intervals3m
(Optional) Calculating confidence intervals using spreadsheet software10m
6 readings
Key notes: Null and alternative hypothesis10m
Key notes: Alternative hypothesis10m
Key notes: Hypothesis errors10m
Key notes: Introduction to confidence intervals10m
Key notes: Confidence levels10m
Key notes: Confidence intervals10m
2 practice exercises
Testing your knowledge: Hypothesis10m
Test your knowledge: Confidence intervals10m
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Top reviews from Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics

By AMDec 16th 2018

Klopper MD is a great teacher. There are other courses from another top universities about this topic, but I think this is my favourite. This the shortest in duration and most comprehensive among all.

By LKJul 29th 2017

Great course!! it is gonna provide you a good foundation in clinical studies if you want to start your career in clinical research! Clear explanation and comprehensive case study! highly recommended!



Juan H Klopper

Department of Surgery

About University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town is the oldest university in South Africa and is one of the leading research universities on the African continent. UCT has over 25 000 students, of whom 30% are postgraduate students. We offer degrees in six faculties: Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science. We pride ourself on our diverse student body, which reflects the many cultures and backgrounds of the region. We welcome international students and are currently home to thousands of international students from over 100 countries. UCT has a tradition of academic excellence that is respected world-wide and is privileged to have more than 30 A-rated researchers on our staff, all of whom are recognised as world leaders in their field. Our aim is to ensure that our research contributes to the public good through sharing knowledge for the benefit of society. Past students include five Nobel Laureates – Max Theiler, Alan Cormack, Sir Aaron Klug, Ralph Bunche and, most recently, J M Coetzee....

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