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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics by University of Cape Town

3,103 ratings

About the Course

If you’ve ever skipped over`the results section of a medical paper because terms like “confidence interval” or “p-value” go over your head, then you’re in the right place. You may be a clinical practitioner reading research articles to keep up-to-date with developments in your field or a medical student wondering how to approach your own research. Greater confidence in understanding statistical analysis and the results can benefit both working professionals and those undertaking research themselves. If you are simply interested in properly understanding the published literature or if you are embarking on conducting your own research, this course is your first step. It offers an easy entry into interpreting common statistical concepts without getting into nitty-gritty mathematical formulae. To be able to interpret and understand these concepts is the best way to start your journey into the world of clinical literature. That’s where this course comes in - so let’s get started! The course is free to enroll and take. You will be offered the option of purchasing a certificate of completion which you become eligible for, if you successfully complete the course requirements. This can be an excellent way of staying motivated! Financial Aid is also available....

Top reviews


Dec 15, 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.


Jul 28, 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!

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1 - 25 of 941 Reviews for Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics

By Mohammed Z

Dec 26, 2018

Finally, I have an intuitive understanding of clinical research!

I completed 2 online courses in clinical research and statistics before this course but I did not get much benefits. But “Understanding Clinical Research” is the best. It is an excellent course for beginners who are interested in clinical research and medical statistics but do not know where to start from. Finally, I have the knowledge and trust to start my own research. This course introduced my to the different study types, types of data, the concept of many complicated statistical terms as P value, confidence interval and a lot of statistical methods and tests. On a scale from 1 to 5 when 5 is strongly agree, I would choose 5 to highly recommend this course for my friends. This scale is an ordinal categorical data type by the way :)

Thank you for this amazing course.

By Abbaas A

Jul 26, 2019

A great introduction to understanding research and a great platform to springboard keen clinicians into performing their own research. Will take what I've learnt and apply it to my own research!

By domenica s

May 26, 2018

I'm very new at this theme, this course has being the perfect beginning. If you don't have a mathematical background and you don't understand when the funny S appear, this is the course for you!

By Giedrius V

Sep 28, 2016

This course mainly focus on statistics and statistical parameters and almost nothing about about Understanding Clinical Research - as title anotate

By Agnieszka B

Apr 25, 2020

This is an outstanding course! I never thought that I'll be able to understand those complicated statistical issues (even if it's only a basic level). It takes a great talent and level of understanding to transfer knowledge in such an easy and comprehensive way. After the course completion I was surprised during the final exam - it was unusual to see how much I've learned, remembered and understood! If my biostatistic classes would look similar to this course, my master thesis writing would be so much easier. Thank you so much Juan for the opportunity to gain the confidence and understanding of basic statistical issues, now I'm not intimidated by "Materials and Methods" section anymore.

By Lee Y K

Jul 29, 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!

By Ahmad M

Mar 2, 2018

The explanation is not clear at all . He only read things without clear explanation. It's a review course . If you are a beginner believe me you won't understand what he says after the third week .

By Andres M

Dec 16, 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 Mohamed E

Nov 23, 2018

It is a great course but it needs more supplementary sources. Furthermore, the lecturer is fine but he only reads the script without some deep explanation of some issues. All in all, it is a great course for building the basic principles about clinical research and statistical concepts

By Venkataragavan

Sep 28, 2019

I am a Masters student in Molecular Biology. Though this course uses examples from Clinical Research ( and probably best that it did!), I was able to get a what-does-a statistical-term-actually-mean understanding of the myriad tests that I find in the literature. That makes a whole lot of difference in how I view the Data Analysis section of a paper from now on! I have learnt to understand the pros and cons of each test and what exactly to look for.The course has achieved what it intended to achieve. Not to teach the maths of a stat test but to explore the understanding behind why a particular test was used as opposed to another test!

By Philip G

Oct 16, 2016

I found this course to be excellent. The material is high-yield in every regard, giving the right balance of big-picture understanding coupled with enough detail to flesh out the experience and the understanding. The professor was very direct and clear in his explanations; I consider the course to be extremely well taught. There were a few areas where the explanation could have been slightly more illustrative or detailed, but nobody is perfect. Overall this is a very valuable course and a worthwhile use of time for any medical practitioner who has to interact in any way with the world of research.

By Juan B

Mar 2, 2019

I managed to understand very important concepts of statistics used in the writing of articles, my understanding in the reading of scientific texts has improved a lot

By Haran S

Mar 9, 2021

Good course, does exactly what it says on the tin. Nice beginner introduction for further statistics courses. PROS - Lecturer is very clear in explanation - Videos are short, sweet and to the point - Notes following videos are useful - Quizzes come with good explanations of the correct/incorrect answers - V good explanation of p-values, sample and population distributions, T-tests, parametric vs non parametric tests CONS - Further explanation of certain concepts would be useful (e.g. degrees of freedom are mentioned/calculated without any explanation as to what they are and why exactly they are important) - the opportunity to perform simple calculations (with a calculator), e.g. Chi-squared, standard deviations, Student T-test would have been useful - Correlation coefficients and linear regression lectures were perhaps slightly superficial.

By Pinelopi T

Nov 18, 2020

A very good introductional course. Started off great, gave me a good understanding of the basics. Although after some point you get too much information and I'd have liked more examples to help me understand.

By Mohamed E

Oct 8, 2020

the concepts in the course are very good but to me the explanation was poor I had to search for a second source to explain most of the concepts especially in the late weeks of the course.

But generally, the course is good and it will help you understand some of the statistics used in medical lecture

By Unique L

May 20, 2018

I thought it was a good course overall. Initially, I was very excited about it as the initial videos and materials are engaging. However, the course slacks off during the most difficult concepts. There were less depth provided in the course note or videos. Overall, I am happy I took the course.

By Shruti B

Jun 6, 2020

Some lectures were boring, so difficult to follow.

By Agnieszka-Monika H

Mar 23, 2022

Excellent course!! Vey well explained statistics with real examples, so now while reading or writing a scientific paper one can really understand why this and not that statistical method was used.

By Wilhelm J M

Mar 5, 2023

I recently completed the course and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand statistical analysis in medical research better. The course starts by providing an intuitive understanding of study types and data collection methods used in clinical research. It then delves into the differences in data types and the various statistical tests used to make sense of the data, such as t-tests, Mann-Whitney-U test, Wilcoxon test, Fisher's exact test, and the chi-squared test. The course also covers the concept of a p-value and the Central Limit Theorem, as well as hypotheses, confidence intervals, and the assumptions of parametric tests. The final week focuses on the accuracy of results in detecting the presence or absence of disease, including sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values. The course is well-structured, easy to follow, and provides practical examples to reinforce the concepts learned. I feel much more confident in my ability to interpret and understand published research articles, and I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in clinical research.

By Brian S

Mar 20, 2020

As the great majority of reviews say, this is a very, very good course. I learned a great deal over the six week format for the purpose identified: to develop a better feel for the data sections of medical/clinical research papers, for those who are not researchers themselves. There are plenty of videos, all short enough. The quizzes and tests mostly reinforce the learning well, but occasionally they are too hard or raise topics and terms not yet given in the lecture. The two self-assignments--each reading a real paper and identifying its research methods and statistical analysis--was very helpful to me. I am not sure that most students take this part seriously enough (from what I saw when I peer-reviewed), but you get out of it what you put into it. My only wish in terms of content is to have more explanation of p-value; it could really use a second week of attention. Still, there is so much to learn about this topic, that this course gives you a great foundation to go find some other online videos and articles to continue your learning. Great job, Dr. Klopper!

By Ahmed E

Nov 20, 2016

Great course, really grabs the core of research without bothering the student with statistical equations.

I highly recommend the course for all healthcare professions regardless whether they are interested or not in clinical research, because we are now at an era of publications, and everyone of us will be confronted by a piece of research that he will need to understand and at least be able to assess the quality of what in hand.

I would like also to thank the mentors especially Dr. Juan, for the great effort and the simplified course they had given, it was really motivating to continue to the end.

By Radiance O

Jul 30, 2020

Wow! This is the most useful and well delivered course I have ever undertaken. It is a 'must take' course, which should be a prerequisite for all clinicians, especially mandatory for all intending lecturers of medical schools and researchers. As a result of this course, I am more confident in supervising residents who take on quantitative research for their dissertation. I can't wait to apply the knowledge I got for my personal research and, training of medical students and residents on quantitative research methodology. Thanks Dr. Klopper! Thanks coursera!

By Massimiliano B

Jul 25, 2019

Perfect course four clinicians that want better understand the logic under a clinical study and the use of statistic in standard data analysis. I will suggest this course to all clinical researcher that need a basic but complete understanding of statistics applied to daily clinical problems.It will help you better understand papers (an allow you to read them more critically) and better chose between different approaches, designing a clinical trial or doing statistic for it. This course is explained in a simply way and the supports are very well prepared.

By Jaeseok P

May 1, 2020

Wonderful course. He is an excellent instructor. Trying to teach statistics without math is a difficult task, akin to teaching physics without math. I believe he found the right balance between the two and it fulfilled my needs.

My goal was to learn about statistical tests and how to use them. The foundational work from weeks 1-4 was useful, but the real meat was in weeks 5 & 6. I personally would have liked just a little algebra during the explanation on the Chi-Square test, as it would explained things a lot better. For this I utilized Khan Academy.

By Joseph C M

May 15, 2020

Wonderful and insightful course! A must for beginners who have stepped into clinical/ allied medical research, as the course structure is meticulously prepared to help biologists (who are weary of daunting mathematics behind statistical analysis) easily understand and conceptualize statistical analysis. I personally have better understanding on how to view my data, what tests to perform and how to infer the results. The instructor clearly has instilled in me the confidence and ethical morality to look at data and analyze it.