Understanding Statistics and Methodology in Clinical Research


Course description

In this course participants learn to thoroughly understand the statistical and methodological concepts encountered in clinical research projects through the unravelling of key medical publications, from the abstract to the concluding remarks. We discuss the role of statistics in medical research, covering experimental and observational study designs.

The course teaches participants a conceptual understanding of statistics and methodology to allow critical evaluation of medical research. Starting from the inception of a research question and up to successful publication, the course contents form a foundation on which participants can improve their own research projects. .

Course structure

This course requires participants to attend 6 afternoon sessions every third week. Each session is typically constructed from approximately two hours of lecture followed by individual and group work. 

Recommended reading

Will be announced in time before each session. 

Course dates

Mondays, 14.00-18.00 starting 23 January 2023

23 January 2023

Objectives and outcomes

13 February 2023


06 March 2023


27 March 2023

Multiple analyses

17 April 2023

Non-RCT designs

08 May 2023


Please note that the detailed course progamme is subject to change.



Sitzungszimmer Spitalstrasse 8, ground floor, Department of Clinical Research, Spitalstrasse 8, 4031 Basel 

Target audience/prerequisites for attending

PhD students of all PhD subject enrolled at the University of Basel, Faculty of Medicine; 

Early career clinical researchers and other researchers from the University of Basel, Faculty of Medicine (Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Ethics, Medicines Development, Nursing Science, Public Health/ Epidemiology or Sport Science) are eligible to register for the course. 

Maximum 15 registered participants. Priority will be given to early career clinical researchers aiming for a habilitation. 

Learning objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to 

  1. Understand the different levels of evidence.  

  2. Formulate scientifically sound hypotheses. 

  3. Choose appropriate study designs. 

  4. Understand the importance of statistical analysis plans and selection of appropriate measurements. 

  5. Understand hypothesis testing, its specific techniques, and underlying assumptions. 


Work load and credits

Approximately 60 hours of workload distributed over 18 weeks.  

The crediting of 2 ECTS requires: 

  1. Completed pre-assignments. 

  2. Active participation in weekly discussions. 

  3. Completed homework assignments. 

Attendance to all but two sessions and full completion of assignments is required for acquiring a certificate of attendance. 

Assessment format

To add this course to your academic record, please create a Learning Contract on MOnA, choosing: 

  • your supervisor as the assessor 

  • pass/fail as assessment 

before the start day of the course and follow the instructions of your respective faculty. 

Study direction

Christoph Patrick Werner, PhD 
Training and Education, Department of Clinical Research 

Teaching staff

Marco Cattaneo, PhD, Senior Statistician, Department of Clinical Research 
Gilles Dutilh, PhD, Senior Statistician, Department of Clinical Research 
Mirjam Laager, PhD, Statistician, Department of Clinical Research 


Mareike Gräter
Training and Education, Department of Clinical Research


The course is free of charge.


Course language is English.
Certificate of attendance will be issued after successful course completion


This course is fully booked. We are currently planning a next course cycle. If you are interested, please sign up here and we will inform you as soon as we have news.