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Talk: Compared to What? Study Design Considerations for Human Subjects Research

Event Details

December 4, 2018
12:00 pm-1:00 pm

Skinner Hall

Room: 101

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Ian Cooke

The College of Nursing presents the final talk in its 2018 Fall Seminar Series: "Compared to What? Study Design Considerations for Human Subjects Research" by Brian Whitcomb, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

Whether observational studies of exposures experienced in the population, or experimental studies of investigator-assigned treatments and interventions, design of human subjects research requires careful attention to identification and selection of an appropriate comparison group. To do so requires consideration of potential issues including, but not limited to: 1. Defining a clear, a priori, effect of interest and target parameter; 2. Addressing group imbalance that may limit study validity; and, 3. Handling ethical concerns for proper treatment of study volunteers.

This tutorial-style presentation will address these important study design issues. We will introduce causal inference concepts like counterfactuals and the ideal but impossible study design as a foundation for complex decisions regarding choice of comparison groups in observational and experimental studies, both as theoretical issues as well as through examples. Other topics to be discussed will include: the importance of specific the causal question of interest; design options; and influences of validity. Attendees should expect to gain a better sense of the issues related to selection of comparison groups, and important factors to consider when designing their own research of evaluating that of others.