Introduction to Randomised Controlled Trials

Course dates

The 2017-18 short course programme is currently being developed and will be launched on or around 2nd October 2017.

We anticipate running this course again in July 2018.

Course duration

5 days (approximately 30 hours teaching).

Updated course information to follow

Please be aware that we are currently updating our course information for 2017-18. All course information below is subject to change.  

Course tutors

Dr Sara BrookesDr Niamh RedmondDr Clare ThomasDr Zoe Tolkien (course organisers) and others.

Course aims 

The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to and understanding of the key issues in the design, analysis and reporting of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). The course focusses on RCTs in the evaluation of healthcare and public health settings. Observational epidemiological study designs, including cross-sectional, cohort and case-control studies, are not covered in this course.

Attendees with no statistical knowledge may find this course unsuitable. Attending the 'Introduction to Statistics' course is recommended prior to attending this course.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students should:

  • understand when and why randomised controlled trials are necessary;
  • understand and be able to address the key decisions that have to be made when designing a trial;
  • understand when and how qualitative methods and health economics can add benefit to the design of trials;
  • be aware of appropriate statistical methods in the analysis of trial data, including adjustment for covariates, subgroup analyses and multiple outcomes;
  • be able to design a hypothetical trial based on their knowledge gained throughout the course.

Who the course is intended for

This course is suitable for researchers, trial co-ordinators, clinicians, public health researchers/specialists looking for an introduction to randomised controlled trials (RCTs). This course would be particularly suitable for attendees who may be involved in the design, conduct, analysis or reporting of RCTs in the academic, public health or NHS sector and who have a some or limited experience of RCTs.  

Attendees will be expected to have a basic knowledge of statistical methods up to the level of the 'Introduction to Statistics' course, and an understanding of research design up to the level of the 'Introduction to Epidemiology' course.

Course outline

The introductory course covers the following topics:

  • the need for randomised controlled trials;
  • planning and trial design issues;
  • pragmatic and explanatory trials;
  • hypothesis testing;
  • clinical and statistical significance;
  • sample size;
  • randomisation;
  • recruitment to trials;
  • cluster trials;
  • intention to treat analysis;
  • alternative trial designs;
  • multiple outcomes;
  • adjustment for covariates;
  • subgroup analysis;
  • CONSORT guidelines on trial reporting;
  • qualitative methods in clinical trials;
  • feasibility studies;
  • health economics in the context of clinical trials;
  • ethical issues in trials.

Booking

Bookings for this course are anticipated to open on or around 2nd October 2017. 

Excellent course, delivered in an excellent unassuming manner where anybody could ask anything.

Course feedback, July 2017

Course fee

£1,100

More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
Bristol
BS8 2PS
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 

Accommodation

Information about accommodation in the area.

Contacts

For further information please email short-course@bristol.ac.uk.

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