Observational studies: Modern concepts & analytic methods

A comprehensive introduction to key concepts for observational (non-randomised) studies in clinical and public health research.

The vast majority of these studies ask “causal” questions, for example about the effect of treatments, policies, behaviours and other exposures on health outcomes. The course provides an introduction to causal inference and a guide to using regression to address causal questions, with an emphasis on analysis planning to strengthen the quality of conclusions we draw from data.  

Note: CEBU offers a core sequence of research methods courses. It is strongly recommended that the first three courses (Foundations, Introduction to Biostatistics and Observational studies) be taken in that sequence, because the later ones assume familiarity with concepts, language and techniques introduced in the earlier ones. This course is third in the sequence and is not entry level.

Dates:

  • 9 - 12 May 2022 (Online)
  • 25 - 28 October 2022 (Online)

Please note that the course dates and/or venue may be subject to change. 

Duration: Four half day sessions

Time: 9.00am - 1.00pm 
 
Venue: Online via Zoom

University of Melbourne
This course is delivered by Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (CEBU), a working partnership between MCRI and the University of Melbourne.

Format:

  • Online with small group tutorials in breakout rooms
  • All course material is provided electronically before the course, and solutions to the tutorials are made available as the course progresses.

Duration: 4 half-day sessions
 
Fees:

  • Internal applicants $250.00   * Melbourne Children’s campus staff (MCRI, RCH and Uni Melb Dept of Paediatrics)
  • External full-time students and MACH-affiliated clinical fellows $590.00
  • External applicants $900.00  

Course details

The vast majority of observational studies in clinical and public health research ask “causal” questions, for example about the effect of treatments, policies, behaviours and other exposures on health outcomes. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to key causal inference concepts, with an emphasis on analysis planning to strengthen the quality of conclusions we draw from data. We provide an introduction to regression methods, which are widely accessible and often used for causal analysis (adjustment for confounding), with an emphasis on the underlying assumptions, interpretation and potential limitations. 

Topics covered in this course include:

  • What is causal inference
  • Definition of causal effects and determining when they can be estimated
  • Effect modification and generalisability of findings
  • Biases: confounding bias, selection bias, measurement error bias
  • Causal diagrams i.e. directed acyclic graphs (DAGs)
  • Analysis planning for causal inference
  • Review measures of causal effect (mean difference, risk difference, risk ratio, etc)
  • Basic concepts of regression
  • Regression as a method for estimating causal effects
  • Overview of different types of regression (e.g. linear, logistic, log-binomial)
  • Interpretation and reporting of regression results
  • Interaction terms in regression
  • A brief introduction to causal inference methods beyond regression, and to non-causal applications of regression
  • Materials supplied: A full set of course notes will be made available in electronic format 

Payment and registration

Please note: In general this is a two-step process, you must arrange payment & then register on Trybooking

Payment via Unimarket (for internal MCRI staff only):

  1. Payment must be made via Unimarket. Staff must not make credit card payments and seek reimbursement from an MCRI cost centre as this is not permitted.
    Access Unimarket or from the MCRI intranet homepage. Log in and search for CEBU as a supplier. Click on CEBU courses and add the required course to the shopping cart the CEBU course/s you wish to enrol in. The GL account for training is 34460. Instructions on using Unimarket are on the MCRI intranet. Once your Cost Centre manager approves it, CEBU will email you with the promotional code to register for the course.

  2. Registration: Use the code obtained in Step 1 to register for the course on the Trybooking site 
    Note: your place in the course is not confirmed until you have registered via Trybooking.

Payment by invoice (for RCH employees and approved external organisations):

  1. Email us, providing full details of your name, organisation name and the name and email address of the person responsible for payment.  Include the course name and date (many of our courses are run multiple times) and the cost of the course.

  2. CEBU will issue the invoice and then provide you with a code so you can register for the course on the Trybooking site.

  3. Registration: Use the code obtained in Step 2 to register for the course on the Trybooking site 
    Note: your place in the course is not confirmed until you have registered via Trybooking.

Payment by credit card: Proceed directly to Trybooking and follow the prompts to make payment and register for the course.

Please note there is a Trybooking fee of 50 cents per registration which will be applied when you register online.

Register for Observational Studies: Modern Concepts and Analytic Methods  I

Cancellation of registration:  You can apply for a refund or request to change the course session to a different date, pending availability, within 7 calendar days prior to the course start date. No refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations or non-attendance after this time. 


Contact

Fiona Snashall or Julie Perkins

Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics Unit (CEBU)
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
The Royal Children's Hospital
Flemington Road
PARKVILLE  VIC  3052

T: 9345 6368 (Fiona Snashall or Julie Perkins)
E: