subject

Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics

 with  Dr Juan H Klopper
Class Central Course Rank
#2 in Subjects > Health & Medicine
#1 in Subjects > Health & Medicine > Health Care & Research

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.

Syllabus

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.

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.

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.

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.

Which test should you use?
The most common statistical test that you might come across in the literature is the t-test. There are, in actual fact, a few t-tests, but the one most are familiar with, is of course, Student’s t-test and its ubiquitous p-value. Not everyone, though, knows that the name Student was actually a pseudonym, used by William Gosset (1876 - 1937). Parametric tests have very strict assumptions that must be met before their use is justified. In this lesson we take a closer look at these tests, but perhaps more importantly, their strict assumptions. Once you know these, you will be able to identify when these tests are used inappropriately.

Categorical data and analyzing accuracy of results
Congratulations! You've reached the final week of the course Understanding Clinical Research. In this lesson we will take a look at how good tests are at picking up the presence or absence of disease, helping us choose appropriate tests, and how to interpret positive and negative results. We’ll decipher sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values. You'll end of this course with a final exam, to test the knowledge and application you've learned in this course. I hope you've enjoyed this course and it helps your understanding of clinical research.

51 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Upcoming
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Calendar 6 weeks long
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51 reviews

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
5 months ago
Bhavna Krishnan completed this course.
What a great course! I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in clinical research and wants to understand how statistics is used in clinical research. I loved all aspects of the course. The lecture videos were short and crisp. Dr. Klopper is very engaging and explained even the hardest concepts really well. T Read More
What a great course! I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in clinical research and wants to understand how statistics is used in clinical research. I loved all aspects of the course. The lecture videos were short and crisp. Dr. Klopper is very engaging and explained even the hardest concepts really well. The quizzes let you apply what you learn. The peer review assignments are a great way of soliciting and giving feedback. Learning this course has really enriched my statistics knowledge.
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
a year ago
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Theerabhat Damrongsantipitak completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
If you didn't learn the statistic's calculation : don't be afraid. The Instructor is lecturing made it simple to understand although you didn't know math. The contents emphasize in understanding clinical's research : Type of research, Variable, Method and statistical analysis of research, Interpretation of research r Read More
If you didn't learn the statistic's calculation : don't be afraid.

The Instructor is lecturing made it simple to understand although you didn't know math.

The contents emphasize in understanding clinical's research : Type of research, Variable, Method and statistical analysis of research, Interpretation of research results.

The peer review assessment make you more confident in reading and interpret the clinical research.
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
8 months ago
Saurabh Kala completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Definitely one of the better courses on the subject. Highly recommended. However, a basic understanding of statistics might be required to understand the matter.
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4 months ago
Henrietta Fawole completed this course.
I would like to thank Juan and the organisers of this course. I would recommend this course to everyone who needs to know about stats. This is the first course on stat that I have completed and understood in great depth. This course helps you to develop deep and thorough understanding of choices of stats tests and just Read More
I would like to thank Juan and the organisers of this course. I would recommend this course to everyone who needs to know about stats. This is the first course on stat that I have completed and understood in great depth. This course helps you to develop deep and thorough understanding of choices of stats tests and justification for the choice. I can't thank Juan enough. You've made difficulties in understanding stats in articles decrease to a great extent. I like that fact that you pull all the learnings together with a case study on how to link it all together. Thank thank you so much. I already recommended to a colleague. I will spread the news.
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2 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
I found this course good for beginners. Although I have only high school education I didn't find it hard. I learned a lot of new terms and understood the basics of some interesting statistical concepts. The lessons were very clear, the use of graphs helped me a great deal, Teaching free data retrieval and analysis Read More
I found this course good for beginners. Although I have only high school education I didn't find it hard.

I learned a lot of new terms and understood the basics of some interesting statistical concepts.

The lessons were very clear, the use of graphs helped me a great deal, Teaching free data retrieval and analysis tools was cool, and the Keynotes were great for review.

The quizzes and tasks are fair, and easier then i expected.

D.R. Klopper Thanks a lot,

You were very pleasant and you seem to have sincere interest in the subject and teaching it.

I promise that if i publish a research, I won't forget to enable free accesses to the data!
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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
It was an excellent course; comprehensive and very well-explained, indeed without needing to apply much mathematics. Therefore, the course is perfect for most researchers, doctors or allied personnel wanting to learn or enhance their understanding on the statistics behind research, beginners or semi-advanced. I would o Read More
It was an excellent course; comprehensive and very well-explained, indeed without needing to apply much mathematics. Therefore, the course is perfect for most researchers, doctors or allied personnel wanting to learn or enhance their understanding on the statistics behind research, beginners or semi-advanced. I would only recommend the teacher to include an extra week on survival analysis, a very important and frequently misunderstood topic. Thank you for the nice course.
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4 months ago
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Andrew Logan Wishart completed this course.
This was an excellent course to explain the fundamentals of statistics and I know the material that was taught will proove very useful. The pace of the course was perfect in the sense that all aspects built up gradually to more complex ones and everything was very well explained. I have taken a statistics course at uni Read More
This was an excellent course to explain the fundamentals of statistics and I know the material that was taught will proove very useful. The pace of the course was perfect in the sense that all aspects built up gradually to more complex ones and everything was very well explained. I have taken a statistics course at university level before and this material was never explained as well as it was done here.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
These course gave me exactly what I needed as a med student in my clinical years- a practical guide to interprate and evaluate the results of clinical studies presented in articles. The lectures are clear and well organized. The lecture notes are priceless, and will serve me well in the future. Thank you Dr. Klopper for making this high value course and helping with my medical education:)
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2 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
This was my first course online course, but it was well worth taking. Very interesting subject matter, with lots of good information and presented in a well organized way. Dr. Juan presented the material in an easy to understand manner that will help anyone interested in statistics to gain a good knowledge without delving at all deeply in to the mathematics behind the tests.
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a month ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent summary of the statistical methods used in clinical research. Provides a way of understanding the statistical concepts yet avoids the drudgery (in my mind) of working through the mathematical proofs. I think the professor could add-in topics that might come up in reviewing clinical protocols; topics such as power calculations to determine the optimum number of subjects.
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a month ago
Anjul Dayal completed this course.
This is a great course for the beginners who are getting introduced to the field of research. The course is divided into 6 weeks with a very smooth transition and is done in a very easy understandable language. The key notes are very well scripted and easy to understand. I am very happy that I have taken this course and will recommend to all the students.
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3 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Great Format. Very comprehensive sampling of materials needed for the average reader of clinical studies. For those taking the course I recommend reading carefully the printable materials as they provide a true supplement to the lecture and contain needed information for passing quizzes and truly understanding the lecture.
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6 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
One of the best statistic course I have ever attended. If you don't have any basis about statistics, but you want to have the clinical understanding, mostly to know and talk with statisticians, this is a great course. Even if you achieve only the basis you'll be able to understand what to ask if you need a statistical analysis.
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3 weeks ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Very useful! I would highly recommend this course to every practitioner, medical/veterinary student, intern or resident! I am a veterinary surgeon and it helped me a great deal, I'm now looking forward to critically evaluating even the "statistics" part of any paper I read! And that with only a few hours a week. Brilliant!
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6 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
This is an excellent course for anyone looking to develop an understanding of the "why" behind statistical analysis! The instructor does a wonderful job of explaining tricky concepts. I now feel better able to understand - and not be afraid of - methods and results sections in medical journal articles. Thanks, Dr. Klopper!
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2 months ago
Ghulam Nabi Zaland completed this course.
I would like to say respectfully thank you to University of Cape Town and specially Dr. Juan H Klopper. In my opinion, this is one of the best and most necessary courses for research fellows and Ph.D. students in healthcare and medicine. This course helped me understand the most difficult concepts in statistics.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
This class was excellent. I loved the enthusiasm of Dr. Klopper. Most of all I learned about how to read and interpret study information for what I do at me real job. I love statistics. This is an excellent over view. I think I'll go ahead and buy a certificate after all. That is the value of this course.
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2 weeks ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent course, excellent teacher!!!This course should be mandatory for all persons in health care who practise evidence based medicine. It is a thorough breakdown of the terminology seen in all medical research papers. It was easy to follow and I am now better equipped and knowledgeable in the subject area.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
The content of this course is a very useful introduction to the statistical methods I've found in epidemiology manuscripts. The course coverage is broad, rather than deep, which is just what I wanted. The lecturers were engaging and well delivered and the examples used were easy to understand.
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6 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
A course that delivers what it promises. A clear, step by step explanation about the most important theoretical aspects of a Clinical Research. Dr. Klopper takes every concept and leaves no space for doubts. The assignments and quizes also are a great tool through the course to solidify the concepts.
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3 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
A very informative and well designed course that helps students and medical professionals in understanding the publications they read and critically appraise it. The course covers many of the fundamental basics in research and statistical analysis. I would strongly recommend it.
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4 months ago
Sumit Sen completed this course.
Proper course for beginners and busy practitioners.One might have to consult a few chapters of books on statistics or see other online videos for a better grasp of some topics like 'which test to chose when'

On the whole a really helpful course.
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5 months ago
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Paulina Jedynak completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Very basic course of statistics for life science or medical students/early stage researchers.

Provides easily learnable principles of statistical analysis applied in many clinical/basic biomedical research.

Highly recommended for beginners.
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2 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.


I highly recomended this course, the explanations and the material are so clear. This a good way to understand the basic topic of stadistical aspect in clinical research if you don´t have a great knowledge of the mathematics aspects.
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2 months ago
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Danilo Davì completed this course.
If you're interested in clinical research or just wanting to grasp the basics of Evidence-Based Medicine, this course is definitely for you. Dr. Klopper's lessons are clear and understandable, yet rich of useful concepts. Highly recommended!
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2 weeks ago
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Bryan John Paulose completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Excellent course which really helps to appreciate research analysis. Would strongly recommend for anyone at any level. The course is to the point and simplifies concepts so much that I now view research with deeper understanding.
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2 weeks ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
This course is very useful it helped me a lot in understanding how to think statistically and the rational of using statistics in clinical research, videos and lectures were short and precise, i would like to thank Dr. klopper
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4 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
A good course on research methodology and statistics for beginners and those who may wish to refresh their knowledge of the subject. It was made simple and I will recommend the course for anyone interested in research
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4 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
It is an excellent course to refresh your knowledge on the basics of biostatistics applied to clinical research. I enjoyed it very much as it was simple and concise. I successfully completed this course in 3.5 weeks.
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3 months ago
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Anonymous is taking this course right now.
This course is a great tool for everyone who whants to start off with the basics on clinical research!

Great lectures, simple and comprehensive, very interesting reading material and the opportunity to test your knowledge !
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2 weeks ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent course to get a grip on the statistics used in papers. Also helps you to understand how to go about selecting the correct tests for your own research articles. Really high quality resource!
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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
I can't believe how much I have learnt in the last 6 weeks. A great course (full of info, so it is a brain work out!!) I know that I will be able to put it in to use in a very practical way. Thanks
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3 months ago
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Brian K Blalock completed this course.
Good course and informative. And although I understand this is not a statistics course, a little more detail on which statistical test to use and why would have been more helpful.
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4 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
It is excellent course and opportunity to learn about the statistics behind the medical research. I would recommend highly to all those who wish to learn about research
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3 weeks ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent class. Very well organized and the instructor is clear and thorough. I learned the basics needed to read and understand clinical papers. Definitely worth the time.
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a month ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
this course includes great information simply explained. It introduces basic knowledge of statistics and research methodology. i enjoyed having this course.
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2 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
This course was very useful. Excellent course. I recommended extensively. It is well organized, the explanations are clear. Congrtulations to Dr.Juan H Klopper!!!
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4 months ago
Heberto Suarez Roca completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
An excellent introductory course provided with an intuitive approach to statistics and the performing of some basic calculations using an spreadsheet.
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2 weeks ago
Enrico audited this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
The course is organized with care and the teaching is excellent.

Best course I have followed so far (I followed more than 10 getting cerificates for 7)
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3 months ago
Moataz Maher Emara completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I found this course interesting and informative. I recommend this course for every one interested in medical research. It will put you on the right way.
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2 months ago
Kh. Shafiur Rahaman completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Very good and informative course for clinicians to understand medical research particularly the statistics part which are very often we see in the papers
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3 days ago
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Anonymous partially completed this course.
This Course is an Useful one. Helpful for beginners to start learning and understanding clinical research.i would recommend to take this course.
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2 weeks ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
The course gives the tools to understand the scientific and statistical methods used in clinical research. The workload is light
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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
It was very useful course for my research work. I learnt about statistic and other related subjects. thanks to the instructor.
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4 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent course. I would recommend this to anyone engaged in medical research. Dr Klopper is engaging and very clear in explanations.
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3 months ago
Aurélie Stanina completed this course.
Wonderful course!!! Simple and easy to understand. Ill recommend it to anyone who is actually interested by research! Great job
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4 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Good course that resume statistical for medicals. It is an easy way to understand without maths problems. A very recommended course.
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5 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
It was an excellent course. It will be very helpful in my professional life. Thank you for the instructor Dr. Klopper.

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4 months ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Such a fantastic course! Essential for anyone that works in research or has to review the literature to inform programs.
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
a year ago
James Richard Davis partially completed this course.
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4 months ago
Larissa Morgan completed this course.
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